My “Top Ten” Choices from the San Francisco Zinfandel Festival

After just spending a delightful three days in San Francisco attending the 22nd Annual ZAP Zinfandel Festival, for the first time I might add, I sit here reflecting on mind and notes. What I tried to do at this event was meet and taste as many Zinfandels and respective Vintners new to me as possible. Now understand the difficulty with this task, as with over 200 wineries presenting in many cases multiple Zinfandels, and approximately twelve hours of tasting time, quite the challenge.

Mike and Molly from Hendry Vineyards

Mike and Molly from Hendry Vineyards

I would venture to say that there were approximately sixty wineries I was familiar with and have tasted their Zins in the past. Also based on my notes and recordings (my tasting notes are all on my iPhone), I was able to experience over 100 Zinfandels at ZAP. That being said, my plans are to in this article, to discuss what in my opinion are my “Top Ten” Zinfandels that I swirled, sipped and swallowed, yes swallowed, because they were that good. Future articles will dive into more specifics on the wines themselves, along with my  “final notes”.


The following “Top Ten” are in no particular order, and in my opinion are all excellent Zinfandels, therefore, no “1st or 10th.

Robert Biale Vineyards, Napa valley, 2011 R.W.Moore Vineyard, Rockpile

Black Stallion Winery, Sonoma, 2010 Estate Monte Rosso

Harney lane Winery, Lodi, 2010 Lizzy James Vineyard

Hendry, Napa Valley, 2010 Blocks 7 & 22

Rock Wall Wine Co.,Napa Valley, 2010 Hendry Reserve

Rosenblum Cellars, Sonoma, 2007 Maggies Reserve, 2007 Reserve Monte Rosso

Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma, 2010 Pagani

St Francis Winery & Vineyard, Santa Rosa, 2010 Montecillo, 2009 Amann Old Vines

Terra d’ Oro Winery, Amador County, 2010 Deaver Vineyard

Troon Vineyard, Southern Oregon, 2011 Foundation ’72

Wilson Winery, Dry Creek Valley, 2010 Tori Vineyard

Now as you view this list, please note two things. First, there are eleven wineries listed for one thing. After choosing ten, and checking my notes, I realized that I also really enjoyed the jamminess, tannin level and length of the Wilson Winery Zinfandel, and just couldn’t leave it off the list. Consider it a “bonus”.

Me getting Gnarly Head

Me getting Gnarly Head

Secondly, there is Troon Vineyard, from Southern Oregon. I am so happy and proud of this winery, for being the only out of state winery representing the state of Oregon to stand up with over 200 California Zinfandel producers, and deserving to be there in my opinion, and that of many others. As with many other varietals grown worldwide, we all know that wines produced in various climates, dirt, etc, create wines that identify their specific area. In the case of Troon’s Zinfandel, it is unique, but with all the quality I seek in a great Zinfandel, with tannins gripping my teeth, deep fruit, layers of flavor that last forever, and just being hit by a JamBall !

The next time you scan a wine list in your favorite restaurant, as you dream of that Prime Rib or other hearty meal, and see one of these Zinfandels, I say try it, and you won’t be disappointed . Now I do want to add that as I said earlier, I know quite well many of the Zinfandels represented at the ZAP festival, many most excellent, but this article was about new experiences for me, that might also be great experiences for you too.







About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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