Zinfandel - descended from Italian and Croatian parents, Primitivo and Crljenak Kaslelanski - emigrated to America in the 1820s and has flourished to become California's ubiquitous black grape.
Fleshy, voluptuous and full-bodied, Zinfandel makes a potent, fruity and very approachable dry red. Perfect with assertive, salty and fruity dishes: barbecued steak, blackened Cajun chicken, salami, duck with black cherries, Chinese beef in black bean sauce, teriyaki and blue cheeses. Here are the best from a blind tasting.
1) Old Vine Zin 2011, Gnarly Head, Lodi, California 14.5pc
Warming palate with earthy terroir and leather. Smooth, fruity and satisfying. Awarded Noffla Gold Star 2015 New World Red under €20.
€18.99 nationwide at Next Door and O'Brien's; Matson's, Bandon; O'Donovan's, Cork citywide and No. 21 Coburg Street. In Dublin: Donnybrook Fair; Sweeney's, Glasnevin; Kelly's, Vernon Avenue; Martin's, Fairview; Jus de Vine and Shield's, Portmarnock; Drinks Store, Stoneybatter and Gibney's, Malahide.
2) Zinfandel 2012, Cimarosa, Lodi, California 13.5pc
Good concentration of bramble fruit and a little peppery spice. Medium-bodied and harmonious, very well-balanced acidity and tannin.
€6.99 at Lidl nationwide
3) Zinfandel 2011, Dancing Bull, California 14pc
Blackberry jam aromas. Smooth blackberry jammy fruits. Velvety tannins and easy style.
€15 at Tesco nationwide
4) Zinfandel 2012, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, California 15pc
Warmed jam aromas. Delicious and quintessential Zin. Blackberry and opulent black fruits, spiked with a little nutmeg. Full-bodied but with the powerful alcohol hidden.
€19.99 at Supervalu, nationwide; Bradley's, Cork; 1601, Kinsale and La Touche, Greystones. In Dublin: Mitchell & Son, IFSC and Glasthule; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Redmond's, Ranelagh; and Sweeney's, Glasnevin.
5) Zinfandel 2012, Murphy-Goode, California 14.5pc
Jammy fruity aromas. Full-bodied menthol, minty black fruits with a peppery spice persisting. Gentle tannins.
€19.99 at Thomas Woodberry, Galway and in Dublin: McCabe's, Mount Merrion and Wines on the Green, Dawson Street
6) Zinfandel 2012, Joel Gott, California 14.3pc
Earthy aromas. Gravelly texture, black fruits and long minerally finish.
€19.99 In Cork at Bradley's, North Main Street; O'Driscoll's, Ballinlough and 1601 Kinsale, Cork
7) Old Vine Zinfandel 2012, Ravenswood, Lodi, California 14.5pc
Fresh and fruity blackberry aromas. Creamy blackberry coulis with a little peppery spice.
€20 at Ardkeen Stores, Waterford and in Dublin: Cork's, Terenure; Redmond's, Ranelagh; and Jus de Vine, Portmarnock
Torres San Valentín White, Penedès, Spain 11pc
Delicate floral scents and an off-dry fruity palate of crushed grapes and ripe golden apples. Match with Chinese fried rice with shredded chicken and star anise.
€12.99 widely available nationwide and at €10 from €12.70 at Dunnes Stores until February 2.