Gallo Café Zinfandel

Price: $5
Maker: Ernest & Julio Gallo
Variety: Zinfandel
Packaging: bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 5 out of 10

Is there any varietal designation as diverse as Zinfandel? I just tried Gallo Cafe Zinfandel… I’m a Zin fan, and the thought that a major winery could produce an affordable, plentiful Zinfandel was appealing. I wish I could say the same for the wine. The first oddity is the color. Gallo Cafe Zinfandel is a dark pink color, a bit darker than a typical white zin, and far lighter than what one wouild expect for a proper zin. It doesn’t taste much like a proper Zinfandel, either – it’s a sweet mix of melon, raspberry, and grapefruit. I suppose if you were looking for something to guzzle with fruit salad or a not-too-sweet dessert, this might do the trick; anyone expecting a conventional Zinfandel will be sorely disappointed.

Gallo calls it a “smoother, lighter-style Zinfandel” – I ‘ll let you decide on that. If you like sweet soft drinks, this might be the wine for you. If you are looking for complex sophistication, stay well away from this one.

43 thoughts on “Gallo Café Zinfandel

  1. Pingback: Wines » Barefoot Zinfandel

  2. John Honey

    I don’t care for sweet wines, and hate sweet soft drinks, but Cafe Zin is one of my favorite wines. I’ll let you reject it for it’s lack of complex sophistication, and I will keep on enjoying it for it’s great taste.

    Reply
    1. Joey

      John, I agree. My wife and I have a hard time finding a wine that we enjoy. Cafe Zinfandel is our favorite.

      Reply
    2. Tina

      I hope so. This wine is for people that don’t know what Zinfandel should taste like. It’s basically a red moscato. It’s not for me. Went right in the garbage. Eeew.

      Reply
  3. Tina

    I have been looking for a light, semi-sweet red wine. I am a reisling drinker. Cafe Zin is a good choice with beef, pork and fish. It’s flavor doesn’t take over a well prepared meal, just compliments it. My friends and I enjoy it very much.

    Reply
  4. Box Wine Guy Post author

    Well, Tina, if you want a red (pinkish, really) semi-sweet wine, Cafe Zin may be just the ticket. It’s kind of a nasty surprise for anyone expecting a robust, complex Zinfandel, though…

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Wines » Gallo Twin Valley Shiraz

  6. Shirley

    Sorry I disagree with anyone who has any bad comments about Cafe Zinfandel. It is superbly tasty and goes well with almost anything Italian or American for that matter. All you wine snobs beware!!! This is a very mellow wine and very enjoyable. Forget that it is reasonably priced and goes down smoothly without the stomach upset of some of the more expensive wines. I have “turned on quite a few people with this wine” and all have been pleasantly surprised by this aromatic and gentle soul of wines.

    Reply
  7. Jeff Duntemann

    I bought a bottle of Cafe Zinfandel a couple of years ago, when it first came out, and I found it very tasty–but I got a whomping headache within an hour after drinking it with an informal Italian dinner. I’m not sure if the wine is entirely to blame, as I’ve gotten headaches after drinking certain wines and then not gotten them after trying those wines again, but the headache I got after the Cafe Zin was unusually bad. Just FYI.

    Reply
  8. Lisa

    I am not a wine expert. This is my first time drink Cafe Zinfandel. I like it. The “smoother and light style” are just what I want. The reason I drink red wine because I was told that one glass of red wine before bed time is good for your health. Does anyone know is this Cafe Zinfandel just as good as other red wine? Thank you.

    Reply
  9. Roger Post author

    Lisa, I don’t think scientists are 100% certain as to what makes a healthy red wine, but current thinking is that the main benefit is from resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins. Since Cafe Zinfandel is such a light color (kind of pinkish, though darker than a White Zinfandel), I would guess that it has less resveratrol than a wine with a deep, dark red color. How much of a difference this makes, I can’t say. If you enjoy the wine, though, “staying healthy” is as good an excuse as any to drink it.

    Reply
  10. Lisa

    Roger, thank you for the input. I do enjoy the Cafe Zinfandel very much. I will continue to drink it if it does keep me staying healthy that will be a plus. I am happy anyway.

    Reply
  11. Janet

    I enjoy Cafe Zinfandel. If you like this you might like the White Merlot. It is not as sweet and has a bolder taste. I like alot of other wines from very expensive to less expensive and these are my pick for an everyday dinner wine. I find most red wines bitter. If any you know of a good dark red wine not too sweet or bitter, I would like to try it. Thanks

    Reply
  12. Todd

    Not to be rude, Mr. Box Wine Guy, but how does one expect “robust, complex” Zinfandel from a 1.5L $6 bottle of table wine that has the tannins color somewhere between a blush and a rose? I supposed because it is typically blended and not drunk individually, I rarely if ever see a good 750mL bottle of Zin for less than $8-9 my area.

    I would guess Cafe Zinfandel is 60% white zin, 20% zin, and 20% grenache or some other sweet medium bodied wine, since it seems even sweeter than White Zinfandel.

    My wife and I keep either Cafe Zin or Rene Junot (highly recommend as a very good red French table wine with a good body and slight sweetness) around as our basic red table wines to enjoy. I particularly like the cleaner fruity body of Cafe Zin and the lack of buttery taste that some white zinfandels and most all Blush Chablis wines have.

    I don’t know if anyone has had Lambrusco wine, the hefty sweet Italian wine, but I think that best sums up Cafe Zin – a white zinfandel blended down with a dose of Lambrusco. It has a fuller, fruitier body than most blush wines and goes well with typical red wine foods, or dessert.

    Reply
  13. Cafe Zin Fan!!

    This response is for the first post. You are describing the exact charachteristics that make the Cafe Zin my favorite wine. It is a great blend of a white and red zine. The idea od sophistication may be in the eye of the consumer. Just because it is not the hearty red zin you were looking for doesn’t make it a decent wine. Also if you are a true wine drinker you would know that a true zin is not what the Gallo Cafe Zin was supposed to be, hence the “Cafe” in the wine name. I love the Cafe Zin I think it is a nice transition wine for the true white zin fans into a red wine.

    Reply
  14. Ruby

    After reading all that was written, I am not sure that i want to taste the Cafe Zin in its unadulteraed form. I happened upon it looking for a red to use in making home made Sangria. It worked well when mixed with a bottle of Menage a Trois. Great fun at a Tapas Party!!

    Reply
  15. larry

    I used to only drink beer or rum &cola. Since trying Cafe Zinfadel over a year ago this is the only drink for me for all occasions. I love the great taste and the quality put into this product. Thanks Gallo. P.S. To all you wine experts. Just enjoy this great wine-Cafe Zinfadel.

    Reply
  16. Meagan

    I as well enjoy the Cafe Zin. However I have came into a dilemma. I have just recently started drinking wine. The first glass I ever had was the Ernest & Julio Gallo White Zinfandel. I love this wine, but recently EVER store that has sold it in my area has taken it off the shelf. All they have now is the Gallo Family wines. Well I have tried them and they taste nothing like the E&J. To be honest, it tastes like whole different vineyard. Well if anyone could please help me and tell me where the Ernest & Julio wines have gone I would be so thankful. I have been running from store to store trying to find it. No one has it!!!

    Reply
  17. Marian

    I love Gallo’s Cafe Zinfandel! However, I am now having a hard time finding it. One store told me that it is no longer being produced. Has anybody heard this too? If anyone has any information, pleas post it.

    Reply
  18. JanMarie

    I just bought the last 5 bottles of Cafe Zinfandel at our local grocery store. Can’t find it at WalMart any more and it is my husbands and my favorite to have with supper. Has it been discontinued? Or do I need to look for it in those nasty boxes???

    Reply
  19. Velvet

    Have been drinking Cafe Zinfandel for a couple of years, and love it!!!!! No bitterness, and very smooth….

    Reply
  20. Rita

    My doctor asked if I drink and I told him no, but that I’ve been trying to find a red wine I can tolerate due to the health benefit. He’s the one that suggested the Red Zinfandel. I picked up a bottle of Cafe Zinfandel and FINALLY… a red wine I can love!

    Reply
  21. Donna

    I am pretty new to drinking wine.. I have learned a lot from a show called “The Wine Crush” on XM sattelite radio. This show taughtm me how to read lables and know what I do and do not like in wines. Cafe’ Zin is by far my favorite wine.. I never said I was sophisticated. I like the flavor, its the perfect wine for me.. If anyone has any suggestions for other wines I may enjoy that arent ‘tanic and woodsy’ pleas elet me know, I dont like bitter or acidy.. I also do not care for really sweet either, I guess I am in the midddle somewhere

    Reply
  22. Lisa B

    I LOVE this wine. It is not too dry and not too sweet. To me it is PERFECT!! I am no expert wine critic. This wine goes well with everything or just to enjoy a glass by itself. I live in North Carolina and I did have trouble finding it for a while, now I am able to find it relatively easy. Walmart carried it for a while, then stopped. I was in there the other day and came across it. The label has changed. Great wine! Will continue to drink it until I can’t find it anymore.

    Reply
  23. Julian

    I love to read all the crap that these snobby so called wine experts write…they usually are so full of it with all the stupid lingo they use to describe something its absolutely hilarious. “It has tastes of leather and woods”. Hey i love the look and smell of good leather but i wouldnt want to eat or drink it !! I love nice wood furniture also but i never had the urge to go bite and eat any either !! I sure as hell dont want to drink anything that tastes like either. I like Gallo Cafe Zinfandel alot. Sometimes i want something a bit less sweet but overall its pretty good for any occasion. Ive had it with seafood, meats, pastas, salads, cheeses, and all by itself. Its just fine with all. Yes there are better wines out there but to say that its not what the so called “true wine lovers or experts” would like or want is just saying that those same people are just plain idiots that dont go for taste but for image or status. They are the same people that go to starbucks and pay $6 for a cup of coffee when u can get a real good cup at mcdonalds for a buck !! Morons that are nothing more than suckers and dont realize it ! LOL

    Reply
  24. Shirley T

    I have been drinking Cafe Zin for about 4 yrs. now. Although I have tried to wrap my tastebuds around the more expensive dryer wines that the wine experts say are the best I am completely mystified by their opinions!Cafe Zin to me tastes so delightful, goes down smooth and I never get a headache or upset stomach! I always look forward to relaxing and paring it with anything I decide to cook for dinner! Goes great with pizza, chicken or beef! Awesome wine!

    Reply
  25. Janice

    I used to find it at Kroger, Publix, Walmart..they have all stopped carrying it. Have been unable to find in the large discount wine stores.

    Reply
  26. yvonne

    I love Cafe zinfandel its the greatest. I buy it at savemart or you can buy it at foodmaxx. love this wine. they should sell it everywhere. hope gallo checks out these great reviews.

    Reply
  27. Kimberly

    I love Cafe Zinfandel! It is now the only wine I buy unless I’m entertaining. It does not have an aftertaste that I find most wines do.

    Reply
  28. viv

    Why is there such a shortage of Cafe Zin? My husband and I are so-so new to wine, and so far this is the beast!!!! However, we are having a LOT of difficulty finding it anymore. Is this a grape problem or is Gallo holding out on us? If we do happen to find ir, we buy every bottle. Is there a way we can order direct? HELP!!!!

    Reply
  29. viv

    I meant “BEST” but it is the beast of our kinda wine and everyone we have served this to absolutely enjoys it and wants to know name and place to buy

    Reply
  30. Heather

    Gallo Cafe Zin is by far my FAVORITE wine!! I could drink the whole bottle if Im not careful, and HAVE done so a time or two! lol

    Reply
  31. Christine

    Gallo Cafe Zinfandale is the only wine I can sit down in the evening and enjoy, I have tried expensive red wine, and white wine,
    All the grocery stores I used to buy it no longer sell it.
    I believe Gallo stopped producing it, if any one has a suggestion on a wine that is close please summit a reply, I miss my quiet evenings on the couch with a good movie and my glass of wine.

    Reply
  32. Patricia Amundson

    We have been drinking cafe zin for over a year. My tolerance for alcohol is extremely low and my husband and I have a glass every night with supper. I can drink a glass full with getting wonky. We love the lightness, the fruity taste and do not find it too sweet. It goes with everything especially when it is cold. I LOVE IT !

    Reply
  33. Jeanie

    I’m getting low on my cafe zinfadel i hope its not discontinued its the main ingredient in my spaghetti sauce

    Reply

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