I have just been “Jam Bombed!”
Last night I attended for the 1st time, the 22nd Annual Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco. Four days on the road of Zin adventures in tasting the finest Zinfandels created on the West Coast of America. For four days the San Francisco Zin Association along with an impressive group of donors and volunteers offer the most excellent Zinfandels, discussions with the Vintners, owners and staff. This is the place to educate your tastebuds to the pleasure of a Jam Bomb.
Last night was the first event, Epicuria, where fifty of the top Zinfandel producers paired with fifty excellent restaurants who created tapas of supreme flavors complementing the Zin being served.
I admit that my wine cellar has three rows dedicated completely to Zinfandel, and believe it is a place of honor. For years I have wanted to attend the Zap Festival in San Francisco, but schedules always clashed. This year I accepted the invitation to attend the functions as part of the Press Corp, and just couldn’t pass it up, and so the schedule was changed, and I now find myself “suffering” here, where I just have to sip excellent “jammy” red wines, and feast of food fit for the gods.
Last night I really tried to visit with some of the Zinfandel producers that although I knew of and had tasted before, I could spend quality time with the Vintner and taste their Zins with them to get their impressions of their wines. One thing I took away from last nights tasting tour was that Zinfandel isn’t a “drink now” red wine anymore, but for the most part is being created by wineries, to develop and grow in the wine cellar over years just as other varietals. I have found this to be true personally, having recently opened a few seven and eight year old Zinfandels from the cellar, California wineries like St Francis Winery in Sonoma and found length and diversity still showing layers of flavor.
At Epicuria i enjoyed time and wine with many wineries including Robery Baile Vineyards, who paired their Zins with Duck tartar, Duck liver and duck fat crostini. Another was a favorite of mine, Black Stallion Winery who paired up with Pomegranate marinated beef on skewers from their own restaurant. Another impressive winery, Rosenblum with three Zinfandels, ’07 Rockpile, ’07 Maggies Reserve and ’07 Reserve Monte Rosso were paired with Wild Boar over creamy palenta, Yummy delight!
Are you starting to get the idea that this was a “Fine Dining” Adventure?
Another extrodinary suprise for the ‘ol tastebuds was my stop at Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel, paired with their Executive Chef Janiak’s “Signature Ribs”! WOW were these just fall off the bone tasty missile’s. And then there’s one of my own favorites, St Francis Winery & Vineyard’s ’10 Sonoma County and Amann Old Vines Zin from Sonoma. These beauties were paired by their own Chef’s 5-spice pork spring rolls.
Lastly I just have to say that it was my pleasure to talk, taste and munch with the only Oregon producer of Zinfandel at this prestigious Zinfandel Festival, Troon from Southern Oregon. To be present, serving their Zinfandels in the company of what is considered the best of the best in Zin from Northern California I believe is an honor and shows the dedication, persistence and knowledge of this grape. Over and over from other attendees both in the wine industry as well as the culinary world, I heard how truly great their Zin’s were. However, I also have to say that I also heard from many how really enjoyable the Troon Clan was to be around, friendly, fun and very grounded. I agree.
So tonight it’s the “Winemakers Dinner and Auction”, a Casablanca-themed VIP Event, and my Tuxedo is all pressed and ready to take my place at “Rick’s Piano”. I hear that this is quite the affair, and I’m sure I will have a lot to talk about on the morrow. So with that being said, you should stay tuned for tomorrows blog,
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