Though Zinfandel is descended from the Croatian grape Crljenak, the wine it produces is entirely Californian in character. It’s usually brawny, smooth and richly flavored. The California wine country’s warm, easygoing weather gives Zinfandel a jammy, juicy fruitiness (except when it’s made into dull, lightly sweet white Zinfandel). Typically high in both alcohol and flavor—boysenberries with a touch of brambly spiciness—Zinfandel is the perfect cookout wine, great with grilled burgers, sausages or chicken, or even chips and dip.
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F&W Wine Guide 2013 spotlights 500 of the world's top producers.
It's perfect for anyone who needs help navigating a wine store anywhere in the country, says Gary Vaynerchuk.