Coming to San Francisco next week is the Zinfandel Experience. Like the grape’s many personalities, there will be multiple venues featuring prominent and emerging winemakers. And thanks to a special invitation from Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP), yours truly will be attending two of next week’s events: the Trade & Media Event, being held at Rock Wall Wine Company (Jan. 28th), and Epicuria (Jan 29th), a wine and food pairing extravaganza being hosted by the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio.
Unlike Pinot Noir or Merlot, the Zinfandel grape comes in many forms: red, white, rosé, sweet, late-harvest (dessert) style, Beaujolais-style and even sparkling. And to complicate things further, its flavor is strongly influenced by the age of the vines and the region grown.
My experience to date is primarily based on the wines from the Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. I tend to think of these red Zinfandel wines as either spicy or jammy, and people seem to gravitate to one style versus the other. I like both styles, depending on the time of year and the mood my mouth is in — do I want something that is bold and jammy and would pair well with BBQ, or do I want a wine that is lush, complex, peppery, brambly, perhaps even a little delicate — and a few wineries I visit often when I head to Sonoma, some of whom will be pouring at ZAP, are:
- J. Rickards Winery
- Jeff Cohn Cellars
- Pech Merle Winery
- Ridge Vineyards
- Sapphire Hill
- Sbragia Family Vineyards
- Valdez Family Winery
If you haven’t purchased a ticket to one of the events yet, you should. Now. Or you will kick yourself once you read my post-event followup about some of the incredible wines I will (and you should) have the pleasure of experiencing, all from your own backyard if you live in the SF Bay Area, that is.
Cheers! and hope to see you there.