ZinEx 2017 Grand Tasting


By Annabelle Marceno Pericin 

Photos by ZAP ZinEX, Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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Celebrating all things Zinfandel, Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) celebrated ZinEX 2017, in three stunning San Francisco locations: One Market, Bently Reserve and Pier 27 on February 23-25. The annual three day event brings the Zinfandel Experience to wine aficionados and red wine lovers and showcases Zinfandel’s classic character.

A farm-to-table dining experience at One Market kicked off the three days of events including,seminar-style tasting, winemakers auction and dinner, and a grand tasting of more than 500 Zinfandels from top regions and producers. The Grand Tasting event on February 25, wrapped up with their three-day extravaganza celebration at Pier 27 on The Embarcadero with panoramic views of the Bay Bridge as the perfect backdrop getting to know Zinfandel.

Over 160 Zinfandel producers and wineries participated in pouring perfectly aged Zinfandels, limited-release Reserve Zinfandels, and Barrel samples of upcoming releases. In total, over 500 different wines were poured during the Grand Tasting event.

Among the sea of ZinEx 2017, favorites that made the top of the list included Tonti Family Wines; Old Vine Zinfandel Artisan, 2013 Russian River Valley. This limited vintage was the overall winner for the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Red Sweepstake. Rombauer Vineyards; 2014 El Dorado Zinfandel and 2014 Fiddletown Zinfandel. The way they craft their award winning Chardonnay is applied to the same method with their Zinfandel. Ridge Vineyards and Ravenswood didn’t disappoint. Ridge Vineyards poured their 2015 East Bench Zinfandel that can be enjoyed now and still develop for another six to seven years. Ravens wood poured from their Barrel & Reserve tasting, 1999 Old Hill Vineyard claiming why they are an award winning leader in the Zinfandel world. Rounding off the favorites was Oak Ridge Winery from Lodi with their 2015 OZV Old Vine Zinfandel. A robust Zin created from Lodi’s signature 50-100 year-old vines. 

The Grand Tasting event would be incomplete without its culinary counterpart which presented sumptuous food pairings from select restaurants and winery chefs.  Executive Chef Matthew Dolan and co-owner of Twenty Five Lusk in San Francisco served a smoked duck brochette with dried fig, aged balsamic, and fino verde basil. Chef Dolan, who cooked for President Obama when the President surprised San Francisco Diners at Dolan’s SOMA restaurant, highlighted a memorable pairing of Zinfandel and gourmet bites using seasonal ingredients. From sweet to savory, Sonoma Cake Creations owner Jennifer Carson created treats with Zinfandel as a main ingredient including Zinfandel tiramisu and Zin Gummy Bears! While assorted cheeses from the Fiscalini Cheese Company in Modesto highlighted the smooth and rich flavZAPZinExEvent2016_7ors of the lighter Zinfandels.

With a view of the Bay Bridge on a clear day
and a glass of Zinfandel in hand, ZAP celebrates the Zinfandel Experience in a memorable venue, wrapping up another impressive year. Looking forward to celebrating California’s cult grape at ZinEx 2018.

About ZAP: ZAP’s mission is to advance public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Members include winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America’s grape. For more information about ZAP, visit www.zinfandel.org