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Wednesday Warblings
Zinfandel Thoughts and Tasty Drops

By Stephen Eliot

It still may not get quite the respect it deserves, but Zinfandel is far from being the black sheep it once was, and its growing legions of fans show a special kind of devotion. They, like Zinfandel itself, tend to be an unsubtle bunch with a certain largesse of spirit, and they are vehement in their defense of the grape and do not hold back in their celebration of the same. I would not call them unruly, but the words “proper” and “prim” do not leap to mind either, and they about to bring their own special energy to San Francisco next week as the annual Zinfandel, Advocates and Producers’ (ZAP) festival is set to commence on January 31.

This year’s festival begins on Thursday with one of our favorite events, the Zinfandel Epicuria: Food and Zinfandel Pairings, a walk-around tasting of some fifty wines matched up with various dishes created by local chefs to show off the best of the grape. The gathering concludes three days later with Saturday’s epic Grand Tasting of several hundred wines, more than anyone could hope to taste even if there are always a few who will try.

2012 saw a welcome shift in venue for ZAP’s big tasting from the waterfront warehouses of Fort Mason to its new home in the warmer, more comfortable digs of the Concourse at Brannan and 8th streets, and, while we have been longtime friends and sponsors of the festival, we could not be more pleased at the difference in the feel of the event that relocation has made. If you have not attended lately, it is time to check in again.

There are new discoveries to be made every year, and, among last year’s very pleasant surprises, the new Beekeeper label and a raft of very good wines from Proulx were standouts. There are certain to be new stories to tell once this year’s incarnation has come to an end, and, we confess to being a bit anxious to get our first large-scale look at the soon-to-be-released Zinfandels from the challenging 2011 vintage. We will have more to say on the topic a couple of weeks hence, so stay tuned.

We, of course, will as always be attending both the Thursday and Saturday events and encourage you to drop by the Connoisseurs’ Guide table to say hello.

There are tickets still available and plenty of time in which to sign on for what promises to be three eye-opening days of delicious drinking and good eats with a bit of education tossed in as well. You can find out more about ZAP’s Zinfandel gala at the link listed below.

We hope to see you there.


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by TomHill
Posted on:1/25/2013 9:42:50 AM

My first infatuation w/ Calif wines was Zin (Ridge & DavidBruce). It still is one of my loves. I went to a bunch of those early ZAP's. Maybe I oughta try one again.

   I remember, back in the late-'70's, some wine writer railed against those high-alcohol Zinfandels....."monster Zins w/ shabby table manners". Which brought us those miserable "food wine" Zins of the early '80's. That guy should have been tarred & feathered!!!  :-)  Sounds like some of the same diatribes we hear these days from some of the wine writers/bloggers.



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