As you readers well know everything is running so smoothly in the Golden State that politicos can turn their attention to the mundane. And so the State Senate approved Senator Carole Migden's (D-SF) bill last week designating Zinfandel as the state's official historic wine.
Under pressure from purveyors of other fine varietals, the bill ended up, like White Zinfandel, a pale imitation of the original, which would have designated Zin as the OFFICIAL STATE WINE, thus conferring upon it a status reserved for the Dog Faced Butterfly, the venerable Poppy, and the majestic Redwood tree.
Then again, while Zindfandel accounts for only ten percent of the market, it is, in fact, the historic grape of California, arriving with the 49'ers and having been a major component of much of the wine produced here for at least 100 years. It saw a resurgence when Fake Zinfandel, er, ah, White Zinfandel (turns and spits) was invented 25 years ago to accomodate the tastes of a multitude of newly minted adult Baby Boomers, who were giving up dope and Boone's Farm for something a bit more sophisticated.
Like all varietals, the taste of Zinfandel varies according to the seasons and the winemaker. Generally it's a brambly sort of peppery, spicy, dark ruby colored wine that often has a lot of up front dark fruit like blackberry, black cherry, and plum. If the grapes are grown near eucalyptus trees the wine can impart a bit of that flavor as well. It is distinctly and recognizably different from either Cabernet or Merlot.
ZAP here for lots of information about Zin.
Oh, BTW, this is not a done deal, the Assembly must concur with the Senate and Guber Schwarzengroper must sign on as well.