View Blog Archive California Directory of Fine Wineries ••• Wine Country Blog > Drinking The REAL Zinfandel at Zin Ex San Francisco, 2018

Category - General
Posted - 01/14/2018 07:37pm
Drinking The REAL Zinfandel at Zin Ex San Francisco, 2018


SAN FRANCISCO, CA — For the novice, drinking wines of inferior quality will often sour a person’s viewpoint of wine right from the start. As with anything else, when learning about the pleasures of wine, it’s important to start off on the right foot.

I wish I had known this back during my college salad days when the only wines I usually had the chance to try were at backyard barbeques. It was at these regular party-hearty events that I was first introduced to Zinfandel. Though I don’t remember the labels, the low priced Zins being served could have easily sported brand names such as “Firewater”, “Rot Gut Chuck” or “Acid Reflux Buzz”. These wines were, for the most part, harsh concoctions that had more burn and bite than flavor. For years afterward, I was certain that the varietal was at fault. Whenever offered a glass of Zin, I would recoil and offer a polite decline. Ah, the folly of youth.

It wasn’t until I began my journey into the world of wine over 20 years ago that I was reintroduced to what I must refer to as the real Zinfandel. At long last I was able to drink the good stuff -- the well-made, serious wines that ignited my lifelong love affair with Zin. The true character of this grape can emerge as a delicate ballerina with dancing flavors almost lighter than air or, it can charge forward on the palate like a robust bullfighter showing off to a roaring crowd. The versatility of this varietal doesn’t stop there. I have found more winemaker-induced versions of Zinfandel than any other wine. It is the chameleon of grapes able to manifest as dry, delicate, fruity, jammy, bold, or thick and sweet as when Zin is made into late harvest dessert wines or port. And I love it in all its mystifying and multiple states of being.

The secret to falling love with Zin is simply to discover the style that you like best.  The means to this end is to taste, taste, and taste again. There is no better way to do this than by attending a varietal specific event such as the upcoming Zin Experience, a three-day wine and food festival in San Francisco, that runs from Jan. 18-20, 2018.

The convenience of tasting dozens of Zinfandels under one roof during a single afternoon is a crash course of sorts in the many faces of this much cherished varietal. It’s where I return year after year to reward my palate with luxurious Zinfandels by top-notch producers.

Tickets to the Grand Tasting on Saturday Jan. 20, 2018 are still available. If you go, here are some Northern California producers who will be pouring that I highly recommend: ACORN Winery, Ballentine Vineyards, Carol Shelton Wines, Dry Creek Vineyard, Frank Family Vineyards, Grgich Hills Estate, Ravenswood, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Zialena Winery. Of course, many other well-regarded wineries will be pouring so I encourage you to explore unfamiliar names. I promise that you will be rewarded with new favorites! —TS

Blog Archives

Blog Categories