5 Best Foods to Pair with Zinfandel for Smoky, Savory Flavors

5 Best Foods to Pair with Zinfandel for Smoky, Savory Flavors

5 Best Foods to Pair with Zinfandel for Smoky, Savory Flavors.
5 Best Foods to Pair with Zinfandel for Smoky, Savory Flavors.

5 Best Foods to Pair with Zinfandel for Smoky, Savory Flavors.

One of those powerful reds that pair well with food is zinfandel. When paired with similarly robust dishes like braises and barbecue, zinfandel’s powerful and ripe brambly fruit notes, spice notes (cinnamon, pepper), and a touch of smokiness all come together to create the ideal food accompaniment.

The Zinfandel Flavor Pairings Guide

The long, warm days of a vacation provide for the perfect conditions for zinfandel grapes to mature and develop their rich, powerful tastes of plum, dried fig, and licorice. With a robust and somewhat jammy taste, these full-bodied variants definitely pack a punch.

Zins from colder climates have a little lighter body and fresher fruit flavors like cherry, cranberry, and strawberry. The sun-baked plateaus in the southern region of the nation are where the Italian variety, known as primitivo, is cultivated.

Because of the terroir, Primitivo is a little more unpolished and exhibits more violet, blackberry, black pepper, and leather flavors rather than jammy fruit.

All zinfandel has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 13–17%, making it fairly intoxicating. Zins only have medium to medium-high acidity when they first strike the tongue, and the rich, luscious berry taste muffles some of that astringency.

Zinfandels were truly intended to be eaten with similarly robust dishes like baked pasta, grilled burgers, or braised meat because of their rounded bodies and high ABV.

best accompanies zinfandel

Zin is really going to hit better on a cold evening rather than a scorching hot beach day, not to seasonal wine (since rosé is just plain fantastic year-round). Things simply seem right when paired with a hefty burger or a sizable serving of tagliatelle Bolognese.

Food and Zinfandel Pairings

Sweet and Spicy BBQ

Zin is a perfect accompaniment to barbecued foods that have char and smoke characteristics as well as a sweet and sour marinade. The sweet and spicy aromas of the marinade play off the flavors of the brambly fruit, whether you are biting into a brisket, grilled sausages, or marinated portabello mushrooms, while the smoke and char enhance the peppery characteristics in the wine.

Burger with blue cheese

Added char! Add blue cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions to your burger to go all out. The flavorful burger is brightened by the brambly fruit overtones, and the chef’s secret ingredient with a glass of zinfandel is the pungent blue cheese.

Parmigiana of eggplant

The umami eggplant, delicious tomato sauce, and decadent cheese are the stars of this hearty meal. Primitivo in particular, with its rustic nature and earthy overtones, is a fantastic companion for this spicy meal. When the weather becomes chilly, this pairing is excellent.

Galbi-jjim (Korean Braised Short Ribs)

These tasty tiny morsels are made from tender bits of pork that have been cooked in a savory sauce made of onion, garlic, sesame oil, black pepper, and soy sauce. A robust and jammy zinfandel pairs well with the flavorful beef covered in salty, sweet, and sticky sauce. The tastes blend together as if they were designed to.


If you want to serve lasagna with zinfandel, whether it is vegetarian or meat-based, it must contain tomato sauce. There is no better way to improve tomato sauce than by adding anchovies. The saucy, cheesy meal, which is similar to eggplant parmigiana in that it has a rustic appeal, would go well with a Primitivo.

Salted and Smoked Almonds

Are you just looking for a snack to pair with your California zin? A few salt-coated, smoked almonds are light and tasty enough to stand up to the brambly characteristics of the wine, with the smoky, peppery notes lingering between each.

Pizza with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and feta

Who doesn’t like the combination of wine and pizza? Choose significant toppings with roasted, salty, and umami tastes, such as feta pie, blistered red peppers, and caramelized mushrooms. Pick your favorite bottle of Oregon, California, or Italian zin—any decent zin will do here.

Sandwich with Hot Italian Sausage

Oh yeah. A spicy Italian sub scenario loaded with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions is the ideal sandwich to pair with a glass of plum zin. It plays into the intensely ripe fruit flavors in the wine since it is robust, savory, salty, and just a little bit sweet.

Consider Big & Bold

The ideal companion for zinfandel is another beverage with a sizable personality. This brambly, dark purple wine goes well with tomato pasta bakes or grilled meats that are savory and salty.

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