As to the similarities and differences between Zinfandel and its Pimitivo and Plavac Mali relatives, in discussions, the consensus was that they were similar with differences due to terroir and, possibly, winemaker treatment. The Plavac Mali was thought to be more rustic, earthy than its
And, for those who missed the event, the mystery was revealed – Zinfandel’s origin! A UC Davis research group led by Carole Meredith, a grapevine geneticist, used a DNA fingerprinting technique and determined that Primitivo and Zinfandel are clones of the same variety. Further research proved that Zinfandel, and therefore, also Primitivo, are the same as an indigenous Croatian grape, Crljenak Kaštelanski (pronounced tsril/yeh/nak kah/steh/lahn/skee). In fact, Meredith, now calls the grape “ZPC.” At one point, it was thought that Plavac Mali was the same as Zinfandel/Primitivo. However, it turns out that Plavac Mali has two parents – Crljenak Kastelanski (i.e., Zinfandel/Primitivo) and Dobrièiæ, an ancient variety from an Adriatic island.
Favorite Zinfandel at the October event? The Thurston-Wolfe Howling Wolfe, with the Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel a close second!
Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank the following volunteers for their help during the tasting: Maureen Hamilton; Ken Kramer; Lois McGuire; Tony and Marie Pennella; Randy Schreiner; and, Ray and Judy Stewart. Thank you all. You helped make our job easier!³