Zinfandel WineZinfandel is a grape variety native to the Loire Valley in France. It's name comes from the word "zanzeling" which means "to shine." The grape varietal is usually referred to as Zinfandel because it is primarily sold as a sparkling white wine that produces a wonderful aroma in the glass. However, if you're a fan of reds, there are several good alternatives that will allow you to enjoy Zinfandel without having to purchase a separate grape variety. While there are plenty of delicious options available to those who enjoy drinking red wines, this varietal shines as the clear alternative. Primitivo or Zinfandel Red is actually the most common type of wine served at Italian restaurants. It's made using red grapes and is often served alongside Prima Donna, another light Italian red wine. There is some controversy over which wine goes best with it, however. Some experts say that Zinfandel is a perfect fit for the primitive variety, since they tend to be lighter and less fattening than the darker ones. Others, however, consider primitivo to be an acceptable substitute for Zinfandel wine when paired with white wines like Merlot. Loose Zinfandel Wine. Also called "loose zinfandel" by some, this version of the traditional red wine is made from young grape varietals that have not been fermented at high temperatures and so have a lower alcohol content than those that have. Many restaurants serve this version of Zinfandel with a fruity red V-8 sauce. California Zinfandel Wine. If you've never had the privilege of enjoying California Zinfandel wines, you're missing out. These premium wines come from the rich California grape family and are produced at a premium winery under ideal conditions. They are widely available in many grocery stores and online, but shipping times vary widely. You'll get your hands on these wonderful gems more quickly if you shop with local distributors and fellow sipping fanatics. Croatian Zinfandel. Perhaps, the most famous wine grape from the former Yugoslavia, this variety was introduced to the market by the Croatian government in the late 19th century. It is the variety favored for production of Croatian brandy, though it has also found a tributary in the South of France and in Eastern Europe. In fact, the majority of wine producers in these regions, even those who call themselves Croatian Zinfandel vineyards, buy this grape in order to blend it with other white and red grapes from various locations. The resulting blend produces a massive amount of wine, which is why this variety is very often found in the Croatian markets. Germanic Zinfandel Wine. This kind of white wine grapes was developed in Germany, specifically in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. While the majority of the grapes used in this kind of wine are of the table variety, it is also made with a considerable amount of fortified alcohol. Germanic Zinfandel is said to be much more alcoholic than its Italian counterpart, but this alcohol serves a definite purpose: to counteract certain German qualities (e.g., sulfur and complexity). Winemakers also sometimes add juniper berries, eucalyptus, or menthol to their wine for a juniper-like flavor. The best producers of this kind of wine are said to be in the Rhineland-Palatinate as well as the Italian regions of Abruzzo and Trentino. Other Italian grape varieties worth trying are the Garizanese, an Italian grape variety renowned for its aroma and flavor; the Castellanese, which offer an aromatic taste with hints of pecan, and the Sardinian, which offer an extremely woody taste. The greatest vintners of these grape varieties make wines that can compete with the most expensive French wines. One of the key factors that distinguish California Zinfandel from French Bordeaux is the temperature of the vineyards. California vineyards tend to be cooler than those in France. In addition, the climate in California provides ideal conditions for grape growing, because the sun shines longer and the cool winds blow less often. The result is that grapes produced in California have greater quality than those grown in other parts of the world, including France. Therefore, if you're looking for a great wine, the best choice might just be Zinfandel.