Digging out from the pile of diapers…we’ve got Zin!

Well, first I’d like to thank all the well wishers for sending their friendly notes during my self-imposed family leave.  Our little Kendra Michelle is doing very well and I’m sure as soon as he digestive system develops she’ll have a hankerin’ for some great wine (she is a Vincent after all


I’d thought I’d start my first post back from a long break with yet another hit from Ballentine Vineyards – 2003 Zinfandel Port.  The first 100% Zinfandel port that I’ve ever tried and I was hooked immediately.  Its a deep, rich port with a blackberry syrup taste that is absolutely delicious.  It fills the palette with an explosion of flavor and yet manages not to overwhelm with sweetness.  An absolute must for after dinner drink relaxing by the fire.

Speaking of Zin, you can find Ballentine Vineyards and others at 15th annual ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) Festival January 25–28th.  Read more of this post for detailed information or visit their website at http://www.zinfandel.org/festival/


Rough & Ready CA—The 15th Anniversary Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival will take place January 25-28, 2006. All tickets are available from http://www.zinfandel.org or by calling 415/345-7575. The only event where tickets will be available at the door is the Tasting on January 28. Details about the Festival are updated regularly at www.zinfandel.org

Another ZAP date to note: ZAP’s Zinposium will take place July 7-9 at The Meritage Hotel in Napa (details updated frequently at www.zinfandel.org).

“It’s amazing to taste so many different Zinfandels under one roof,” comments Mark Dommen, chef at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco. “Attending the annual ZAP Tasting gives you a chance to taste enough Zin so you can define what you like and define your personal preference since there are so many styles,” he added. “If you can go to the other events of the Festival such as Flights and Good Eats, you have the opportunity to taste what different chefs have come up with as pairings for Zin, which is both exciting and educational,” he said.

“What ZAP offers is absolutely unique among the many wine organizations that are out there: a grassroots educational ‘cause’ that thrives on the personal relationships that can be developed between consumer-customer and vintner. We fuel each other,” said Julie Johnson, current ZAP president and proprietor of Tres Sabores Winery. “Inevitably, people take their personal wine discovery routes around the world–and always come back to Zinfandel as a favorite wine, an individualist’s varietal. Our lack of pretense and educational mission is at the core of this trend,” she adds.

The specific events making up the Festival:

January 25: Flights: A Showcase of California Zinfandels: Embark on a voyage of discovery. Your guides at this intimate, seminar-style setting are the winemakers, owners and principals of the wineries who craft these remarkable wines. Students from the City College of San Francisco Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies program will create delights for your taste buds to savor during the sessions and at a walk- around Zinfandel reception following the seminar. Flights takes place at City College of San Francisco, Ocean Avenue Campus, 50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco (94112), with the seminars from 2-5:00 p.m. and a reception from 5:00-6:00 p.m.; tickets are $125.00 for non-ZAP members, $100 for ZAP members; there are no ticket purchases at the door. This event is produced in collaboration with The City College of San Francisco Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies program. Julie Johnson, Tres Sabores, is the opening and closing host.

The panels and seminars are:

Out of the Barrel – The 2005 Vintage
Moderator: Duane Dappen, D-Cubed Cellars

Panel: Jonathan Lachs, Winemaker, Cedarville Vineyard; Pam Simpson, Owner, Chase Family Cellars; Grady Wann, Winemaker, Quivira Estate Vineyards & Winery. Taste the fruit of the vine from the 2005 Zinfandel harvest for the first time. You will also compare and contrast this brand-new vintage with a 2003 Zinfandel from the same vineyard already in the bottle.
What a Pair! Zinfandel and Food Matches
Moderator: Tannis Reinhertz, City College of San Francisco
Panel: Carol Shelton, Winemaker/Owner, Carol Shelton Wines; Tim Crull, Winemaker/Owner, The Terraces; David Phillips, Co-Owner, Michael-David Vineyards; Tom Mackey, Winemaker, St. Francis Winery & Vineyard. Explore the versatility of Zinfandel and learn how Zinfandel will enhance your dining experiences as a rich, robust counterpoint or a lighter harmonious interlude. What makes a great food and wine match? You be the judge in this interactive sensory session which presents currently available Zinfandels with a range of sauces and tastes prepared by the City College culinary students.

Generations of History and Heritage
Moderator: Justin Boeger, Boeger Winery
Panel: Pete Seghesio, Owner, Seghesio Family Vineyards; Mark Beaman, Winemaker, Parducci Wine Estates; Leon Sobon, Winemaker, Sobon Estates; Julie Pedroncelli, Owner, Pedroncelli Winery; Jeff Bundschu, Owner, Gundlach-Bundschu Winery. Delve into the compelling stories and taste the wines from several wineries whose families have grown and produced Zinfandel for generations. Swirl, sniff and taste your way through carefully selected vintages with the inspired sons and daughters who carry on their family traditions.

The menu to be served during Flights:

Assorted Pizzas (Wild mushroom with fontina; Greek with feta, black olives and cherry tomatoes; potato and bacon); Maple-glazed duck on sweet potato gaufrettes; Vietnamese pork meatballs with peanut sauce; Tartlets filled with broccoli rabe, pinenuts, parmesan and tomato, basil, olive; Roasted root vegetable and smoked tofu skewers; Empanadas (chicken apple, cheddar, cuban beef, chard and fontina); Charcuterie; Assorted Spanish Cheeses; Spiced nuts; Fresh-baked bread sticks; Chocolate and pistachio biscotti; Bite-size almond, quince and berry tarts.

January 26: Good Eats & Zinfandel at Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco (94123), 6-9:00 p.m.; tickets are $100 for non-ZAP members and $75 for ZAP members. A ‘dine-around’ extravaganza, where 49 Zinfandel producers have teamed up with restaurants and purveyors to offer fine-tuned food-wine ‘marriages!’ No tickets will be available at the door for this event.

The extravaganza is:

Abundance Vineyards with Café Gibraltar’s Wild Boar Medallions braised with Onions, Celery, Herbs, Tomatoes and Zinfandel served with Couscous

Acorn Winery with Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar’s Homemade Cherry-Chipotle Sausage Sliders with Roasted Onion Mustard

Artezin with Knickerbocker’s Catering’s Wild Boar Burgers on Blue Cheese Crostini with Cherry Balsamic Onion Jam

Ballentine Vineyards with Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA’s Duck Liver Mousse Crostini With Roasted Pineapple Quince Ruby Port and COPIA Cress

Brutocao Cellars with The Crushed Grape’s Spicy Mushroom Strudel with Chipotle Cream

Carol Shelton Wines with Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar’s Sweet Potato Ravioli with Tuna Sashimi and a shaved salad of Brussels sprouts, mushroom-Zinfandel vinaigrette

Chateau Felice with Andrew Yeager’s House of Seafood and Jazz’s Chicken Etouffee (a Southern Cajun-Creole style dish)

Claudia Springs Winery with Montclair Bistro’s Zinfandel-Infused Foie Gras Mousse

Crystal Basin Cellars with Catering by Christine’s Duck Prosciutto

Crystal Valley Cellars with Hurley’s Restaurant’s Zinfandel-Braised Wild Boar on Truffled Polenta

Dry Creek Vineyard with Piatti Locali Restaurant’s Zinfandel-braised lamb riblets with fig-olive tapenade

Edmeades Winery with seven-0-seven’s Black Sheep Farm Pork Meatball with Anson Mills Polenta

Gnarly Head Cellars with Tres Agaves’s Abondigas (traditional spicy holiday meatballs)

Graeser Winery with Magic Flute Garden Ristorante’s Risotto Balls with Fontina Cheese

Hendry with Lark Creek Restaurant Group’s Mini Liberty Farms Duck Confit Burger with Zinfandel Fig Compote

Karly Wines with Incahoots BBQ’s Santa Maria Style BBQ’d Baby Back Ribs and Paquito Beans

Mara Winery with Willi’s Wine Bar’s Pomegranate Braised Chicken Meatballs and Chickpea Mash with Cucumber Sauce

Mazzocco Winery with Santi Restaurant’s homemade Calabrese sausage

Mitchell Katz Winery with Pleasanton Hotel’s Cajun seared Ahi Tuna with a Wasabi Zin Sauce

Moss Creek Winery with First Crush Restaurant Wine Bar & Lounge’s Corn and Shrimp Fritters with Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Orchid Hill Vineyard with Scoma’s Restaurant’s Spicy Seafood Sausage

Peachy Canyon Winery with Trattoria La Siciliana’s Crostini con Caponata (Sicilian eggplant relish), Asparagi e Prosciutto (asparagus spears wrapped with Prosciutto di Parma), Ricotta Salata (homemade salted ricotta cheese)

Perry Creek Vineyards with Q Restaurant’s Carne Adovada (Albuquerque-style Pulled Pork) with Papaya Sauce

Quivira Estate Vineyards & Winery with Oakville Grocery at the Cannery’s Duck Confit with Maytag Blue and Sweet Balsamic

Rancho Zabaco Winery with Izzy’s Steak & Chop House’s Izzy’s Blackened N.Y. Steak Sandwich

Ravenswood with Central Market’s Marinated Mussels with Chorizo & Fennel

Renwood Winery with Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro’s Duck Confit

Ridge Lytton Springs with Zazu Restaurantj’s Pork on a Stick, Pomegranate Gremolata

Robert Rue Vineyard with The Village Inn & Restaurant’s Savory Cheese Balls

Rosenblum Cellars with Bucci’s Antipasto – Fava Bean Topping with Olives and Broccoli Rabe

Saddleback Cellars with PlumpJack Café’s Warm Truffled Short Rib Tarts

Sebastiani Vineyards with Rose Pistola’s Bresaola, Beef Tartare, Crudo

Seghesio Family Vineyards with Blaze and the Seghesio Pit Team’s BBQ Ribs

Sextant Wines with Xander’s Grill’s Duck Confit on Brioche Crouton with local Fig and Zinfandel Marmalade

St. Amant Winery with A Chef For You’s ZinTastic Mexican Mole Pork Loin and Mediterranean Sol Orzo Pasta Medley

Starlite Vineyards with Coco500 Beef COCOmole with corn tortilla and avocado

Starry Night Winery with Pazzo Restaurant’s Agnolotti Forestal (egg pasta st
uffed with a mixture of fresh shiitake & crimini mushrooms, ricotta & pine nuts, served with a shiitake mushroom cream sauce & black truffle oil)

Storybook Mountain Vineyards with STOMP Restaurant’s Venison Loin with Savory Bread Pudding and Celery Root Slaw

Sunset Cellars with Firmenich’s Smoked Meats & Chili

Teira Wines with EOS Restaurant & Wine Bar’s Duck & Foie Gras Sausages

Trinitas Cellars with Siena at The Meritage Hotel’s Rosemary-Crusted Lamb Loin with Roasted Bell Pepper Gastrique and Micro Arugula

XYZin with Bridges Restaurant & Bar’s Pomegranate Glazed Lamb Leg with Caramelized Sweet Onions on Garlic Crostini

Z-52 with Zinsvalley Restaurant’s Kurobuta Pork Loin with Shiitake Mushroom ‘catsup’

Zoom Vineyards with North Main BBQ’s BBQ Ribs.

Also participating will be Boeger Winery with John Ash & Co., OTTIMINO with BARNDIVA, Spelletich Cellars with Restaurant LuLu, The Terraces with FAZ Restaurant and Trentadue Winery with Langley’s on the Green.

January 27: An Evening With The Winemakers at The Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco is sold out. It begins with a pre-dinner tasting and auction after a gala dinner complemented with an enormous array of Zinfandels. Guests will start the evening with a taste of the 2004 Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel. The gala dinner prepared by Executive Chef Clayton Van Hooijdonk will have a first course of Roasted Acorn Squash Bisque with a Truffle Foam and Foie Gras; the entrée is Rack of Lamb Marinated in Lavender and Mint, Grilled Asparagus and Sweet Potato Cake. A cheese course with artisanal cheeses provided by Fiscalini Farms is preceded by the dessert course, Chocolate Triangle Cake with Caramel Sauce, Gold Flakes and Fruit Garnish. Francisco Bread will provide Sourdough and Bavarian Dark Sweet Wheat Rolls. Auctioneers Fritz Hatten and Tom DiNardo will preside over a collection of 25 one-of-a-kind lots including lifestyle packages and rare Zinfandels. The auction raises funds to support The Heritage Projects including The Heritage Vineyard; the auction lots will be posted at www.zinfandel.org on January 16, although there will not be an bidding online.

January 28: The 15th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Tasting at the Festival and Herbst Pavilions at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco (94123); tickets are $50 for non-ZAP members and $40 for ZAP members. A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at the door for $60.00. The trade and media are welcome between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.; the public is invited 1:30 – 5:00 p.m. Explore the depth and breadth of Zinfandel as 300 Zinfandel wineries offer current releases and barrel samples, with a special focus on the 2004 vintage. Each year finds wineries new to the Tasting (in 2006 there will be 14 wineries who have never before poured at this event). The Festival is the only place where Zin aficionados can purchase the Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel; in 2006 the 2003 vintage will be available (made by Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards). Wineries are positioned in alphabetical order. Upon arrival you are given a ZAP logo’d glass (yours to keep), a baguette and the program (which itself may be the most comprehensive listing of Zinfandels available); throughout the two buildings are numerous food stations with breads, cheeses, fruit, coffee and water. ZAP’s Marketplace offers caps, tshirts, chocolates and other items. A silent auction will be taking place at the rear of the Festival Pavilion throughout the Tasting.

Visit www.zinfandel.org to join ZAP, research Zinfandel and more! The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is a non-profit, educational 501(c)(3) organization. ZAP is dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America’s heritage wine. ZAP’s membership includes approximately 300 winery-members, 6,000 advocate-members and 50 associate members.

Author: Joel Vincent

Growth Hacker and wine lover

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