To Zin or not to Zin, that is the question and the answer these days is far more likely to be ‘yes please’.

We now know Zinfandel to be of Italian origin where it's called Primitivo but there must be some Californian magic added because when I compare like for like, there are major differences.

For me, the Italians have far more of that unusual component for a red wine, acid, but before you rebel, remember that like a lot of old world wines, the Italian production is almost perfectly matched to the dishes of the region and they do like their tomatoes in Italy. Yep, I call it tomato, you call it tomato but the wee critters are a bitch for most red wines to cope with. The Italians also tend to have a touch more tannin in my experience and that's not a bad thing either, especially if you like to age your wines.

In California however, things are different. Food pairing rules are flexible and very few buyers are bothered whether the wine can age so the focus is very definitely on the fruit and crikey, what a lot of fruit there is in a Californian Zinfandel. From the ripe spicy nose to the rich autumn fruits, and peppers on the palate, the fruit just keeps on coming like a never ending gift. Yes, many of them will age, but assuming you don't have an insight into a pending Zombie apocalypse, why would you put something so delicious in the rack?

Granite Cellars Old Vines Zinfandel, California

What a corker for the price. There's enough fruit in this for three bottles! Think of warm blackberry jam with a soft slightly smoky finish.

Oddbins £14.00

M&S Classic No 24 California Zinfandel

I'm not usually a big fan of supermarket own label wines but this one is made by the Delicato family who rarely release a pup to be honest. Soft but complex fruits with a touch of spice on the palate. Fabulous paired with barbequed or smoky dishes.

Marks and Spencer £8.00