Stephanie Anderson

In praise of Zinfandel

Stephanie Anderson

I was toying with starting this entry off proclaiming Zinfandel my favorite wine but at the end of the day as with food, I like anything that is good. Never mind that my favorite bottle of wine is in fact a Zinfandel, but what I love about that bottle happens to hold true of every other Zinfandel. It's bold and powerful. Full of personality.  It's not for the faint of heart.


Generally regarded as an exclusively California grape (it's not but let's leave it at that for the purpose of this entry) it exhibits all the things we love about new world wines. It hits you hard and heavy on first sip.  Often it has the bonus of leaving a long gorgeous finish. When I first introduce newbies to Zinfandel I invariably get a "WOW!" out of them upon this first sip. It definitely is the wine with wow factor. Sure some cabernets have that even a really good pinot noir has that but not on first sip. It comes several moments later.  The cabernets and pinots that do this can't be had for under $20. Zinfandel is another situation entirely.


I call Zinfandel the lovers wine. One simple reason: This is the wine you want to take to bed with you. It doesn't need any food to pop it. Quite frankly I prefer to not be standing when I drink this wine as it has been known to make me weak in the knees.


I was doing a wine tasting for a client a few days ago and had included a Zinfandel in the lineup. One of the guests was the token female that "only drinks white wine." I encourage people at tastings to open their minds and step out of a comfort zone if they happen to reside in one. I bring the best wines I can find to these types of events and feel that if something is really great (food or wine) I can convert the naysayers. Sometimes it works other times, and I believe this to be due to not opening the mind enough, it doesn't. Fair enough. I tried. The individual in question tried. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Her response to the zinfandel. "WOW! I like it but it's too much for me."


Too much for me, however, is just enough.