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Posted - 01/15/2019 04:34pm
I LOVE Zinfandel – And what you should do about it on Jan. 17, 2019 at ZinEx!

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Go ahead. Try to prove me wrong. But, try as you might, I suspect that you’ll find yourself confounded by the mischievous little grape called Zinfandel. Wines made from Zinfandel can be glorious, delicious and, quite frankly, superb. These wines are sometimes tender and decidedly feminine with layers of complex flavor. But on the flip side the same grape can produce wonderful wines that are hearty, muscular and almost viscous. How can a grape reveal itself within such a broad spectrum? Therein lies the fun. Somehow top winemakers are able to enter Zinfandel’s magical realm and apply just the right amount of know-how to coax each harvest toward their personal ideal and vision. This grape, through its many vinifications, is most expressive. As many wine aficionados will tell you, the real fun in drinking Zinfandel comes through tasting and exploring its tremendous versatility.

My recommendation is to shoot for the high-end. Experience well-made Zinfandel from top quality grapes. No doubt you’ve seen the slogan: “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” With this I agree. But there is just one problem for most of us. Well-made wine can be expensive and current tasting room fees at many California wineries where you might go to determine which wines taste best are fluctuating between $20-$65 per person. Ouch! That’s not only a huge hit to the wallet but it could take the average wine consumer a very long time to learn, through tasting, how to recognize favored traits in Zinfandels.

For this reason, not to mention that it is lots of fun, I often urge readers to seek out and attend annual wine tasting festivals. The benefit is clear. For one set price, as long as you pace yourself wisely (by not actually swallowing) and take full advantage of “spit buckets”, you’ll have the opportunity to taste and discover many wines produced in the widest variety and styles, all in one day, under one roof. The more examples of a specific wine varietal available to taste and compare, the faster you’ll be on your way towards determining the flavor profiles you like best.


The exciting news is that ZinEx Week is finally here again and it all begins Jan. 17, 2019. There are multiple Zin-centric events tasting place in San Francisco during the week; however, among the most anticipated is the Grand Tasting. This is the main event and it will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. at Pier 29 (San Francisco Embarcadero). Attendees will meet winemakers and taste reserve and limited production wines during one of the most comprehensive showcases of Zinfandels and blends in the world. Over 110 wineries will be there to serve their finest wines. Also included will be a selection of sumptuous culinary samples from restaurants and winery chefs.


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Among the dozens of highly-regarded wineries in attendance will be such Napa Valley and Sonoma County favorites as: Alexander Valley Vineyards, Ballentine, Bella Vineyards, Chase Cellars, Chateau Montelena, DeLoach, Dry Creek Vineyard, Grgich Hills, Hartford Family, Martinelli Winery, Pedroncelli, Ravenswood, Rombauer Vineyards, Saddleback Cellars, Sbragia Family, Seghesio, Talty, and Zialena. These are just a few whose fine wines I am well acquainted and can certainly recommend. But there will be plenty more there to be discovered. At this writing, tickets are still available. If you go, it is my wish that, after you explore and taste throughout the event, you too may fall under the magical spell of Zinfandel.

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