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BBQ and Zinfandel

Elizabeth Bolton

 Zinfandel (Primitivo)

  • High acidity= tasting ‘spicy’ 

  • Berry flavors are dominant- strawberry to blackberry bramble, depending on the ripeness

  • If you like 5-spice powder, cloves, and cinnamon look for oak-aged Zinfandel

  • If you like lighter and more delicate wines look for less oak 

  • Comes in a red wine or rosé-“white zinfandel” (rosé is very popular in the U.S.)

Richer vs lighter Zinfandel

  • Look at alcohol level

  • Riper Zinfandel grapes produce wines with higher alcohol

  • Riper = richer darker ‘sweeter’ tasting Zinfandel

 Three Distinct Styles of Zinfandel

No. 1- Fresh and fruity, easy-drinking style that offers charm and balance with light tannins

No. 2- Medium-bodied, fuller flavored Zinfandels with noticeable spiciness and ripe tannins

No. 3-The big, concentrated and powerful style with intense fruit and richness

 Food Pairings with Zinfandel

  • Fresh Fruit/Easy Drinking – Aperitifs, Light Cheese

  • Intense Fruit/Ripe Tannins – Lamb, Venison

  • Highly Concentrated Fruit/Firm Tannins – Red Meat

Fun Fact: Zinfandel is exclusively grown in California and is the most widely planted red grape variety

Barbecue Favorites With Zin

BBQ Pork: spicy

Pasta & Red Sauce:the tomato in the red sauce brings out the spice in the Zin

Cured Meats: charcuterie plates (available at The Stowaway)

Rib Dry Rub-Food Network 



1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon granulated onion

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Pack on the dry rub onto your next rack of ribs.

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