Zinfandel. The Grand Tasting on Saturday, February 2, featured the world’s largest Zinfandel tasting with over 200 wineries and hundreds of Zinfandel wines. In addition to the individual winery tastings a new feature this year was the Terroir Tasting Area. Here visitors had the opportunity to explore regional diversity with different Zinfandels side-by-side from wineries in the same region and compare it to other Zinfandel regions. The regions represented in this area include Lodi, Dry Creek Valley, Mendocino County, Lake County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles and the Sierra Foothills.
The Zinfandel Festival continues to grow each year with 27 new wineries participating this year. A few of these new participants include the following:
- Jelly Jar Wines – While this winery is new to the Zinfandel Festival they are certainly not new to California winemaking with four generations of heritage in the region. They were pouring their 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Lake County. It demonstrated a nice blend of dark fruit flavors including raspberry and black cherry with notes of clove.
- Jessie’s Grove Winery – Just as Zinfandel is America’s Heritage Wine, Jessie’s Grove Winery is a heritage winery in Lodi with a history stretching back to 1888 when the first vineyard was planted on the Joseph Spenker ranch. Their participation in the Zinfandel Festival gave them an opportunity to further introduce their new Downtown Lodi Tasting Room at 27 East Locust Street. They were pouring their 2010 Earth, Zin and Fire Zinfandel, the 2006 Westwind Old Vine Zinfandel and the 2008 Westwind Old Vine Zinfandel.
- Andis Wines – This is a modern boutique winery in Amador County, the heart of the Sierra Foothills wine region. They offered visitors the chance to savor starting with their 2010 Amador County Zinfandel, leading on to the 2010 Estate Zinfandel (wining 90 points from Wine Spectator) to their 2011 Original Grandpere Zinfandel.
- Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery – As a small estate winery in the southern end of the Dry Creek Valley established in 1974 Mill Creek shared some of their delicious Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels, including both the 3009 and 2010 vintages.
- Shadowbrook Winery – Located in the shadow of Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, Shadowbrook Winery was showing off their 2010 Zinfandel from the San Francisco Bay region that delivered aromas and flavors of dark fruit, red currant, plum and a touch of vanilla.
- Shale Oak Winery – This is a Paso Robles winery that believes strongly in sustainability both in the vineyard and the winery. They were pouring their 2010 Paso Robles Zinfandel and the 2010 Ku, a Zinfandel blend.
In addition to the Grand Tasting, the Zinfandel Festival included Epicuria, a food and Zinfandel pairing event and Flights, a Forum of Flavors educational seminar event.
ZAP, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers hosts the Zinfandel Festival every year in San Francisco and it is a great opportunity to learn more about America’s Heritage Wines.
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