How to Serve Zinfandel Wine: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

You have stored your Zindafel wine well and it has aged to a great taste, but how do you serve zinfandel wine for the best taste, aroma, and enjoyment?

Zinfandel wine is best served at room temperature of 60-65° F degrees for light-bodied zin than heavier red zinfandels. You can chill the wine in a fridge for up to an hour if you had stored the wine in a room that has a temperature of above 70°F.

How to serve white Zinfandel wine

You should note that the room temperature indicated for the red wine is not necessarily similar to the normal room temperature for humans. Therefore, since the Zin has a higher tanning and strong mouthfeel, serving them at cold temperatures can leave you taking a flat wine.

Thus, all Zinfandel red wines are best served at between 65° F and 72° F which is colder compared to the normal temperature on a summer day.

How to Serve Zinfandel Wine

You should serve red Zinfandel wine at a temperature range of between 65° F and 72° F for heavier reds and 60-65° F for lighter-bodied Zinfandel wines. Thus, you can chill the lighter-bodied red Zins in a fridge for up to an hour if you had stored them in a room above 70°F.

Even if you are serving the heaviest red Zin wine, it will not taste as refreshing if served too hot (80° or higher). Alcohol is emitted in large amounts from the wine if it is served too hot (80° or higher).

A “nasal burn” may result if you smell a bottle of this sort of wine. A “nasal burn” is a negative accentuation of alcohol, resulting from what is known as a “nasal burn”.

It is caused by a dull and flat taste caused by the hiding of any flavors that are present in the red zinfandel. Winemakers work hard to create red zinfandel, bringing out its natural fruit qualities. Thus, hot temperatures detract from the zinfandel’s complexity and fruitiness.

How to serve white Zinfandel

You can serve white Zin chilled at a temperature of between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit to get the refreshing enjoyable crisp taste of your white wine. The wine is sweet and thus should be paired with lighter meats including chicken and pork to ensure you get the wine taste thus ensuring the food does not overpower the taste of the wine.

Moreover, you can serve it with desserts. This is because the white Zin has a sweet taste thus accentuating the taste of your desserts.

Chilling the white Zin wine enables you to get a crisp taste that is not too sweet. You can achieve this by chilling the white Zinfandel for a couple of hours and then setting it out for 30 minutes before the opening time.

Once opened, you should pour a small glassful of white Zin wine to taste. When tasting, be sure to check if it is cold enough for a crisp refreshing taste even though the white wine is sweet. If not at the desired taste, ensure that you chill it again for a period of time.

How to serve Lighter-bodied red Zinfandel

You should serve the lighter bodied red Zinfandel at a higher temperature as compared to white zinfandel which is served chilled. The light-bodied Zinfandel however should be served at a lower temperature as compared to full-bodied red Zinfandel.

Therefore, you should serve the lighter-bodied red zinfandels at a temperature range of between 60-65° F. This can be achieved by storing them in a cooler place for most of the time or if stored in a room with a temperature above 70°F, like is seen in most summers, chilling it for up to 60 minutes on a fridge.

The lighter-bodied red Zinfandel has low alcohol content, low tannin, and moderate-high acidity and thus is not as sweet as the white wine. Moreover, it has a unique red fruit and floral aroma that makes it great for a refreshing drink.

You can pair the lighter-bodied red Zinfandel with lighter meats such as

  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Hard and richly flavored cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses including Bandage-wrapped Cheddar, Manchego, and Trentingrana.
  • Pork including pork tonkatsu (A savory-sweet quality Japanese dish served with a richly spiced curry sauce)
  • Quail
  • Turkey including a stuffed Thanksgiving Turkey
  • Veal from a calf of either sex and any breed
  • Vegetables such as apricot, beets, caramelized onion, cranberry, peach, red peppers, roasted squash, roasted tomato, and spiced apple

These food pairings are excellent because of the moderate sweetness. Moreover, Zinfandel wine also goes well with barbecue red meats and lamb since it is served at a colder temperature as compared to full-bodied Zin.

The best pairings utilize the Zin taste which leans on the sweeter side of red wine, to pair with spiced barbecue dishes and curry-based foods.

How to serve full-bodied red Zinfandel

Full-bodied red Zinfandel has a high tannin level and weight lock-in aroma/ flavor when compared to the lighter-bodied or white Zin described above. This makes it a wine type that requires dark storage, and extra care on serving since the taste can be off.

To serve the full-bodied red Zinfandel, aim for a temperature of between 65° F and 72° F (between 12˚C and 18˚C,). This means you need to cool it off a little bit if you are serving it on a typical summer day. However, do not chill the red wine for a long period of time.

You can achieve the right temperature for serving your red wine on a typical summer day by placing the red wine bottle in the fridge for an hour before opening and serving it. You can use a stemmed glass with a bowl that’s slightly tapered at the top to serve the full-bodied Zin.

This type of wine does well with grilled meats, pasta, and many vegetarian dishes. The full and right mouthfeel augments the red meat flavor giving you a great meal. You can also serve it with the following foods:

  • Baked, roast, or stuffed aubergine/eggplant such as parmigiana
  • Barbecue, such as the charred, sweet, or spicy American barbecue
  • Black beans such as the soup and black bean chillis
  • Braises and beef stews which are cooked long and slow
  • Stronger cheeses, smoked cheese, and blue cheeses including Gorgonzola
  • Meaty pasta sauces and pasta bakes as described above
  • Meat-topped pizza
  • Portobello mushroom for vegetarians which does well when baked with garlic butter
  • Turkey, such as the Thanksgiving turkey
  • Dirty burgers which have cheese, bacon, onions, pickles fillings

Therefore, avoid serving any of the red wines at a hot temperature because it will make them taste flat. The higher the temperatures, the more the wine tastes dull and flat since it masks all the complexities and natural fruit qualities that winemakers try to derive from the Zinfandel grapes.

What is Zinfandel Wine?

How to use Campden tablets to preserve wine:  Serve Zinfandel wine in glasses

Zinfandel is a medium to very full-bodied red wine with high alcohol, sweet fruit flavors, and textures of sweet ripe berries. We have red and white Zinfandel wine each with different classes based on the alcohol content and mouthfeel.

Zinfandel embellishes seafood textures wonderfully, particularly fish stew since its flavors complement seafood beautifully because of the high alcohol and sweet ripe berry flavors.

It was once thought that the dark blue zinfandel grape was native to California, but a white zinfandel wine, a pink, affordable wine made from zinfandel, is now available. 20,000 acres of land are also producing Zinfandel wine in Italy.

California red wine is a bold red wine made from zinfandel grapes that are high in alcohol and often contain residual sugar. Zinfandel wine can be made oaked or unoaked.

Zinfandel is often blended with other red grapes to increase its tannin and body. Because of its moderate tannin and high acidity, zinfandel has a bold character with blueberry, jam, black pepper, plum, boysenberry, and cranberry flavors.

Zinfandel wines usually have higher alcohol percentages ranging from 14-17% ABV but most white Zin wines have 9% to 10% ABV. In addition to the high alcohol content, the wine has a candied fruitiness accompanied by spice and a smoky-like finish.

Is zinfandel red or white?

The California-originated Zinfandel grapes make robust, aromatic, juicy grape wines that produce highly alcoholic wines. The grapes can make both red and white wines, and both styles produce amazing wines. However, White Zinfandel is actually not a white wine at all but has a pinkish color, is usually light, and can be classified as a sweet variant in the rosé family.

The white Zinfandel wine is made in the same style as a rosé. However, it utilizes a process known as Stuck Fermentation to retain its sweetness. Stuck Fermentation is a wine-making process where the yeast becomes dormant deliberately or not before completing the fermentation.

It is important to note that both the red and white Zin are produced from the same grape variety. However, the growing process, picking period, and grape processing at the winery vary. The white zinfandel grapes are grown with vines that are quite large and productive in vineyards that are in very fertile areas and warmer climates. Moreover, the grapes are picked early when roughly 18 -20 brix.

For the red Zin, harvesting is done when the Brix level is over 24 and sometimes up to 28. This means that red Zin grapes are harvested three to four weeks later than the grapes for white Zin. The farming for red Zinfandel wine is more intensive, with yields often as low as one to three tons per acre compared to 15 tons per acre for the white Zin on average.

Finally, at the winery, the White Zinfandel grapes are pressed as the very first step before fermentation to give you clear juice with the release of only a small amount of red pigments. On the other hand, red Zin wine grapes are fermented whole with their skins included, and thus the grapes are pressed after the yeast fermentation is complete.

What is the Zinfandel wine taste?

The Zinfandel wine tastes include jam, blueberry, boysenberry, black pepper, cherry, cranberry, licorice, and plum flavors. All these flavors are derived from the Zinfandel grapes that offer a great base and flavor for both the red and white wines.

You need to take care of the following to define the taste of your wine:

  • ABV of your Zin: As discussed above, a lighter Zinfandel has an alcohol content of 9% to 13.5% while the full-bodied and spicy Zinfandel has an alcohol content of 16%.
  • High elevation produced Zinfandels: These tend to give you richness and savory intensity. These high-elevation areas include Howell Mountain and El Dorado County in California.

Even though the flavors may vary in a little way, you should expect a jammy flavor bursting with fruity aromas (candied fruitiness) accompanied by spice and in most cases, people report a tobacco-like smoky finish.


We all love it when we get to enjoy the food with our wine. However, it is important to note the temperatures required to get as much satisfaction from your wine as possible.

Different types of Zinfandels do well at different temperature ranges even though all of them will go well with temperatures lower than the typical summer day room temperatures. However, white Zin should be served chilled while full-bodied red Zin can be served at just a few degrees lower than the room temperature in the summer.

As discussed, white Zinfandel has lower input requirements in farming and winemaking and making it to be sold at a much lower price compared to the full-bodied, robust red Zinfandel wine.

All we ask you is to try and serve Zinfandel wine with different foods. We have given you a guide on the food that can pair excellently with these wines but not to say you can’t be creative.