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California has adopted the classic French grapes enthusiastically, but sometimes it neglects its own red-wine classic, Zinfandel. This is a variety of unknown origin: its closest relative is the southern Italian Primitive. The vine was brought to California from Europe in the 1850s, and it quickly became a favourite. Modern California winemakers are not sure how to treat Zinfandel. It can make long-lived, complex and individual wines and it can also make the sort of very pale rose called "blush". Zinfandel can produce very large crops, but wine made from such grapes lacks character. The best Zin-fandels are deep red wines which come from old vines, pruned hard, producing small crops.

 
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