One day, late January 2017, driving through some vineyards near Young in NSW, a pretty fruit and grain growing town that is well know for its rich, fruit-laced Shiraz and competitive interpretive dance ensembles, we noted on a strainer post at the end of the old looking vineyard the code - ZIN, 1995 - Turns out this is zinfandel planted, you guess it, in the grungy mid-90's. Wow I thought, who would have planted this obscure variety that at least three countries claim as their own. Zinfandel is the Californian term for this very adaptable variety. Then there's Primitivo from the heal of Italy, where it makes rich, dark, quite alcoholic sun-drenched reds. Luckily, its Croatian name didn't stick, mainly because no one can actually pronounce it: Crljenak Kaštelanski
So this vineyard got my attention, the fruit looked marvelous so we nabbed some and, after a quick group chat with some tanned Californian winemakers, we settled for a gentle approach, some bunches, a little plunging, a brief soak and just half a year in barrel and here we have it, our first Crlje...CrljenaKašte....elanski, something like that.
Surprisingly, this goes particularly well with roast turkey and cranberries, so yeh, maybe this variety found its nirvana in the States like Krist Novoselic did.