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TomHill

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750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by TomHill » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:24 pm

As linked by WineTerroirist, a very interesting article by PeterWeltman in 750Daily on the Origins of Zinfandel:
750Daily:Origins of Zin

Much of it is stuff that most of us Zinfanatics already knew. And, of course, our very own CaroleMeredith plays the starring role in the article. I've heard rumors that in the exciting movie now being filmed "Origins of Zinfandel", that NM's very own Julia Roberts plays the featured role of CaroleMeredith. It will be exciting to hear how "Crljenak Kastelanski" rolls off of Julia's lips.

But there are a few new tidbits in the article:

1. Ridge as planted & grown at LyttonSprings and acre each of Crljenak Kastelanski and two Pribidrag cuttings. They will be releasing a Croatian Zinfandel blend later this year. They have also planted these Croatian Zins at their MonteBello Estate, presumably down on the Jimsomare part.

2. Pribidrag was the local name for the vines that DNA work indicated was the same as Zinfandel. The Croations and Carole have decided to return to the ancient name of Zinfandel..Tribidrag.

3. FPS's DeborahGolino cautions against the importation of "suitcase clones" as being unethical and asserts that, in most cases, they don't take well in Calif and usually end up being replanted.

4. Much of the Zinfandel/Tribidrag planted in Croatia is virus-infected, as was found in the plant material imported to FPS. This imported plant material has been cleaned up and
some of this virus-free material is now being returned to Croatia for replanting, a new twist never before done.

5. The article doesn't mention the attempt by the Macedonian growers to claim ownership of the origins of Zinfandel. This (presumably) specious claim has raised a few hackles over there in Croatia.

I understand that Peter's next article will focus on the ancient origins of the recipe for the famed CaroleMeredith brownies.

Anyway, quite an interesting read, if a bit of a rehash.
Tom
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:30 pm

I have a question, and this seems as good a place as any to ask it.

I was wondering what evidence there is that the variety originated in Croatia and travelled to Italy - as opposed to the other way round. I understand the earliest historical references to the variety in Croatia pre-date the historical references in Italy. And one of the names it has been given in Italy may have Zagreb as its root. But all that is hardly proof - the wine could have existed in Italy a long time before it was documented, and as far as I know there is no record of it actually arriving in Italy.

Is there maybe more genetic diversity in the variety in Croatia compared to Italy for example? I am not even really sure how you would do the comparison, considering there are many more vines of it in Italy than Croatia.
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Charlie Sullivan Book

by TomHill » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:27 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote:I have a question, and this seems as good a place as any to ask it.

I was wondering what evidence there is that the variety originated in Croatia and travelled to Italy - as opposed to the other way round. I understand the earliest historical references to the variety in Croatia pre-date the historical references in Italy. And one of the names it has been given in Italy may have Zagreb as its root. But all that is hardly proof - the wine could have existed in Italy a long time before it was documented, and as far as I know there is no record of it actually arriving in Italy.

Is there maybe more genetic diversity in the variety in Croatia compared to Italy for example? I am not even really sure how you would do the comparison, considering there are many more vines of it in Italy than Croatia.


Steve,
Charlie Sullivan’s book indicates it came to the US from Vienna (Croatia was part of the Hapsburg Empire) to hot-houses on the EastCoast, grown by the Vanderbilts/er al. Known as Black StPeters. Made its way around the Cape to Calif, where it became known as Zinfandel. The feeling is that it returned to Italy by Italians returning to Italy after failing in the GoldRush. That it didn’t just migrate across the Adriatic from Croatia to Apulia. Been awhile since I read Charlie’s book but that’s my recollection.
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Steve Slatcher » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:51 am

Thanks, Tom, but it seems that the book (or your memory of it) is incorrect. I say "it seems" because grape origins are often difficult to prove.

According to "Wine Grapes" the first mention of the variety in Puglia is in 1799, which is when the first main American gold rush started, and a few decades before the one in California. In 1799 the reference was to Primitativo, but "Wine Grapes" says use of that variety spread in 1820, and became known as Pimitivo in1860.
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Hmmmm...

by TomHill » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:07 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:Thanks, Tom, but it seems that the book (or your memory of it) is incorrect. I say "it seems" because grape origins are often difficult to prove.

According to "Wine Grapes" the first mention of the variety in Puglia is in 1799, which is when the first main American gold rush started, and a few decades before the one in California. In 1799 the reference was to Primitativo, but "Wine Grapes" says use of that variety spread in 1820, and became known as Pimitivo in1860.


Charlie Sullivan did a pretty thorough job of tracing Zinfandel in Calif from Vienna (and thereby probably Croatia) to
EastCoast hothouses, where it was called BlackStPeter. Then around the Cape into Calif. Totally discounting the
Haraszthy legend. I think it was speculation on his part that it returned to Apulia by returning goldminers taking Zinfandel w/ them.
Tom
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Peter May » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:31 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote: what evidence there is that the variety originated in Croatia and travelled to Italy - as opposed to the other way round.

Is there maybe more genetic diversity in the variety in Croatia compared to Italy for example? .


I understood that the assertion of Croation origin is because of related varieties found in Croatia

"Genetic analyses have shown that Tribidrag is genetically related to several other Croatian native varieties and parent of currently the most important Dalmatian red wine grape variety, Plavac mali,"

as well as earliest reference

"While the first written reference to the name Primitivo dates from 1799 and to Zinfandel from 1837, the first reference to Tribidrag dates all the way back to the 15th century."

- https://tribidrag.org/about-tribidrag/?lang=en

I have somewhere on my disc the PDF of Carole Meredith's paper on the origins of Zin (but the useless Win 10 serach can't find it)
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Steve Slatcher » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:29 pm

Peter May wrote:
Steve Slatcher wrote:I understood that the assertion of Croation origin is because of related varieties found in Croatia

"Genetic analyses have shown that Tribidrag is genetically related to several other Croatian native varieties and parent of currently the most important Dalmatian red wine grape variety, Plavac mali,"

Yes, that certainly adds a lot of weight to the evidence, especially if there are no related grapes in Italy too.

Where does that quote come from? I seem to have missed it if it was in "Wine Grapes".
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Re: Hmmmm...

by Steve Slatcher » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:31 pm

TomHill wrote:I think it was speculation on his part that it returned to Apulia by returning goldminers taking Zinfandel w/ them.
Tom

Thanks again
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Peter May » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:45 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:
Where does that quote come from?.


Its in the article I linked to in the post
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Peter May » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:10 am

Steve

I've found an earlier piece by Carole Meredith, the text of a talk she gave in 2002 called Science as a Window into Wine History in which she talks about her hunt for the origins of Zin and the reasons she has for stating it originated in Croatia and not Italy.

I've emailed it to the address you have on your website
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by Steve Slatcher » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:21 pm

Peter May wrote:
Steve Slatcher wrote:
Where does that quote come from?.


Its in the article I linked to in the post

So it is. I seem to have developed a reading style that causes me to miss critical bits of text :(

And thank you for the emailed article!
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Re: 750Daily: Origins of Zinfandel

by David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:51 pm

Carole Meredith did an interview with Levi Dalton, on his "I'll Drink to That" podcast in which she went into some significant detail about the origin search.
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