Zinfandel blending grapes

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distancerunner

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Our small winemaking partnership is talking about which varieties of grapes we want to work with this fall. Zinfandel is being promoted by one. Nothing is settled yet!

Which grapes are commonly blended with Zin? What do those individual grapes bring to the blend?
 

CDrew

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It's quite common for a small amount of Petite Sirah (5-20%) to be added for structure and improved color. Some Zinfandels can be pretty light. This is pretty typical. Ridge "Lytton Springs" Zinfandel is legend (and a personal favorite) and it has petite sirah, carignan, and Mourvedre inter planted in the vineyard and it all gets picked and processed as a field blend. They have a story board at the winery where they have had each vine in the vineyard identified. Apparently, when originally planted years and years ago, it was planted as "mixed black grapes" which turned out to be mostly Zinfandel with some others mixed in.

But it blends well with many other wines, and I make a Primitivo(basically zinfandel)/Syrah blend every year that I like as an outstanding casual food wine.

But when blending, for me it's always an accident. What ever is left after main bottling gets blended together and I've never had one I didn't like. My 2020 blend is a mix of primitivo(50%)/barbera/sangiovese/tiny amount of syrah. It's quite good despite the lack of precision and I think most "Red Blends" are made this way. After all that hard work, I wouldn't want to throw any out, so leftovers all go in the tank!
 

Gilmango

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Brand new blend from Finer Wine Kits is Lodi fruit but labeled as "Sonoma Style" and it features Zin:

Sonoma Forte Finer Wine Kits are made from top quality California grapes. The Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah blend was popularized in Sonoma. The chewy fruitiness of Zinfandel is complemented by the structure and tannins of Petite Sirah and the floral and peppery notes of Syrah that will keep your friends asking for more. This blend creates a dense and dark hardy red wine with blackberry, blueberry and plum flavors. This kit is only offered in the Forte Series.

Matteo then went on to confirm in a post here (see page 99 of the FWK thread): The blend is 60% Zin 20% Petite Sirah and 20% Syrah. The zin is the base of the flavor profile.

and:

The name is referential to the blend because that is where it originated but not the juice itself. In the future I expect we will be able to expand enough to start offering regional specific varietals but that will take time. For now we are coming up with our own versions of regional blends. A few of the new ones are really good and original. We will announce more in the coming weeks. Anyway, for now I am trying to source Sangiovese and Montepulciano from Italy. Italian concentrates will likely be our first International juices.
Blend percentages:
Sonoma is 60/20/20 zin, petite. syrah
Meritage is 60/40 cab, merlot
Baby Super Tuscan is 60/40 Syrah, Merlot
 

ibglowin

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They are blending Zin with just about anything these days out in Paso Robles and its all pretty amazing. I have blended Zin with the usual Petit Sirah, Syrah but also Cab Sauv, Merlot it all turned out awesome but the best was easily my "Prisoner" blend of ~50% Zin and the rest was PS,S and CS. Won a Gold with that blend.
 
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distancerunner

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We (winemaking partner and I) sampled a bottle of Ridge East Bench 2019 yesterday. Label reads 100% Zinfandel. Really good. Still, could it be improved by blending in some Petit Verdot/Petit Sirah, Mourvedre, or something else?

We may be headed in this direction for the fall crush.
 
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Really good. Still, could it be improved by blending in some Petit Verdot/Petit Sirah, Mourvedre, or something else?
My definitive answer is "probably". ;)

This really depends on what you want. If you want pure Zin, then definitely not. If you want a wine with more complexity, color, etc., and purity of Zin is not a criteria, then yes.
 

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