Zinfandel: Tasting and Understanding America’s Great Grape and Wine

By Travis Oke

When it comes to American wine I think you need to understand Zinfandel.  It’s as misunderstood as how Al Gore invented the internet.  Zinfandel used to be your Grandmother’s pink sweet wine. In fact, I had somebody at a party recently ask me, “How is this red wine a Zinfandel, I thought it was a pink wine.”  I had the owner of a café recently ask me not to select a Zinfandel for their wine list because people wouldn’t buy it.

I am here to sing the praises of Zin as the great American grape – which they renamed from the Italians (but that’s another story and not completely accurate).  Zin can be big – think Shiraz.  Zin can be spicy – think Rhone.  Zin is a delicious red wine. When in America, I drink Zin.

Here are my two LCBO picks. The Cline is silky and a little softer than the average Zin at this price. The Sledgehammer is much bigger and yes, hits you over the head a little.  Zinfandel can be strong, confident, and beautiful. Exactly, how I like my Americans, including the woman I married.


LCBO 489278 | Price: $ 13.45
14.0% Alcohol/Vol.





LCBO 230466 | Price: $ 17.95
13.9% Alcohol/Vol.







Travis Oke is a high school teacher by day and a wine writer by night. His blog, Pull The Cork, appears in the online edition of the Guelph Mercury.




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