Epicuria – California Zins I Love to Love

A portion of the ZAP fest I attended this past January in San Francisco was the food and wine event that matches local restaurants with Zinfandels. It’s a pricey proposition; at $125 a ticket, it was more than I have ever paid, but celebrating my birthday that weekend with friends, it was the price of being a baller for the night. The food was epic, lamb chops in my right hand and tasty duck bites in my left. Heaven!

Held  in the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio event center, the grounds are situated in the eucalyptus treed park near the scenic southern edge of the Golden Gate bridge. A perfect setting for tasting this showcase of California fruit.

photo (588x640)Packed shoulder to elbow, we found ourselves in the room I like to call the Lodi room. This wine AVA is located 86 miles east of San Francisco and the wines I tasted were just a tease of what I hope to taste when I next make a trip down south.

The first words out of any of the wine pourer’s mouth was the fact that these wines are from vines over 100 years old. In comparison, Washington can only boast vines at their oldest is maybe 60 years old. If 40 years makes the difference, then vive la difference!

What I appreciate  about these wines is the depth of the Zin flavor elegantly smoothed out before becoming those ‘fruit bombs’ that I have fallen out of love with these days. So maybe that’s what an old vine zinfandel vine brings to the glass; a balanced,  medium bodied and a lingering finish. It was a wonderful wine education for me and  makes for some enjoyable sipping.

These are a handful of the ones that made my eyes roll heaven-ward, and if you can locate them, I highly recommend you give them a taste.

McCay Cellars, 2010 Contention
– St. Amant Winery (All 2012 Vintages)
Mohr Fry Ranch – Old Vine
Marian’s Vineyard- Old Vine
Speakeasy Red
– Harney Lane Winery , 2011 Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

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ZAP – California’s ZinFest

photo(2)California’s wines are derived from over a century of legacy winemakers, original immigrants that brought their craft and their vines from the homeland.

In the growing areas of Sonoma and Napa, there are valleys and hillsides of vineyards devoted to the growing of zinfandel grapes.  Some with more than a century in age, their gnarled shapes creates an expectation of great wines yet to be tasted.


I had the chance to visit San Francisco this past January to attend a portion of the ZAP Fest ( Zinfandel Association Producers) and taste a good representation of what this grape has to offer, from Sonoma to Lodi.

Highlights were visits to the Dry Creek AVA in Healdsburg, CA as well as the cuisine that blew my socks off.

I’ll feature some of my best tasting moments, with a little tour information, geared toward perhaps your future trip to this quaint charming town and the delicious wines that surround it.

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Thoughts on Wine Stains

Drinking red wine requires you develop balance, finesse and coordination.

I, sadly, lack all of these.

This explains why every lovely top I own has some errant  splotch of cabernet right in the cleavage zone.  Bulls-eye!

I can’t help it; the wine made me do it.

About the time I get to the bottom of my first glass , I’m  a hand talker.   Flapping them around for emphasis, it seems I cannot get my point across unless I’m channeling a  Pollack canvas move, not with paint, but with a red blend from Red Mountain.

What do you do when you find you are in the middle of happy party crowd and suddenly dribble all over yourself?

Dash to the bathroom and try to clean it with cold water, some soap, and  then dab hard with a towel. Didn’t work.  There is now a large wet, wrinkled ink blot, less red , more like a rose’ much worse then the original stain.

I choose the path of least resistance, and being the professional wino that I am, I have a tried and true contingency plan.

Dash to your over-sized purse, pull out the back up blouse you’ve smartly stashed which is interchangeable with what you’ve just ruined,  toss it on, toss your hair and get back in the mix.

What do you do with a wine stain?

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