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28 Jan 2011 2011 ZAP Festival — Grand Tasting in SF on 1/29/2011
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For anyone interested in Zinfandel, you should seriously consider attending the Grand Tasting at Fort Mason on the 29th.  It is the 20th anniversary of the event!  Trade will start tasting at 10:00 AM and general public will be able to start tasting at 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM.

There will be a lot of people there but so will there be a lot of zinfandel. 

 Here is a link to official ZAP link: http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?cid=1&n1=15&n2=645#20414.  Here is a list of the participating wineries:

Accademia dei Racemi
Acorn Winery / Alegria Vineyards
Adelaida Cellars
ADS Wines
Alderbrook Winery
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Amador Cellars
Amphora Winery
Ancient Peaks
Artezin Wines
B.R. Cohn Winery
Baldwin Wines
Ballentine Vineyards
Barefoot Cellars
Bartholomew Park Winery
Beaver Creek Vineyards
Bedrock Wine Company
Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves
Black Sears Estate Wine
Boeger Winery
Bogle Winery
Bonneau Winery
Bota Box
Brazin Cellars
Brown Estate Vineyards
Brutocao Cellars
C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery
Cakebread Cellars
Calcareous Vineyard
Calstar Cellars
Candor / Hope Family Wines
Carlisle Winery
Carol Shelton Wines
Cedarville Vineyard
Cellar No 8
Charter Oak Winery
Chateau Montelena Winery
Chatom Vineyards
Chiarello Family Vineyards
Claudia Springs Winery
Cline Cellars
Collier Falls Vineyard
Cougar’s Leap Winery
D H Gustafson Family Vineyards
Dancing Bull
Dancing Lady Wines
Dashe Cellars
D-Cubed Cellars
Deep Purple Winery
Del Carlo Winery
DeLoach Vineyards
deLorimier Winery
Dendor Patton
Dogwood Cellars
Dono dal Cielo Vineyard
Downing Family Vineyards
Dry Creek Vineyard
Easton Wines
Edmeades Winery
Fields Family Wines
Folie a Deux Winery – Trinchero Family Estates
Fontanella Family Winery
Forever Vineyards
Four Vines Winery
Frank Family Vineyards
Fritz Winery
Gamba Vineyards and Winery
Giuseppe Wines & Neese Vineyards
Gnarly Head Cellars
Gnaughty Vines
Gregory Graham Wines
Grey Wolf Vineyards & Cellars
Guglielmo Winery
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
HaGafen Cellars
Haraszthy Family Cellars
Harney Lane Winery
Hartford Family Winery
Hearthstone Vineyards & Winery
Hook & Ladder Winery
Hunt Cellars
Ironstone Vineyards
J Dusi Wines
J. Keverson Winery
J. Rickards Winery & Vineyards
Joel Gott Wines
John Tyler
JR Wines
Kenneth Volk Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards/Heck Estates
Klinker Brick Winery
Kokomo Winery
Kuleto Estate Winery
LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards
Lava Cap Winery
Leonhardt Vineyards
m2 Wines
Mantra Wines
Manzanita Creek / Salerno Healdsburg Estate Winery
Marr Cellars
Martorana Family Winery
Masked Rider Winery
Matrix Winery
Mauritson Family Winery
Mazzocco Winery
McCay Cellars
McNab Ridge Winery
Meeker Vineyard
Michael-David Winery
Mike and Molly Hendry Wine Co.
Milliaire Winery
Miraflores Winery
MoniClaire Vineyards
Mounts Family Winery
Murphy Goode – Artisans & Estates
Novy Family Wines
Oak Ridge Winery
Opolo Vineyards
Outpost Estate Wines
Paso Creek
Peachy Canyon Winery
Pech Merle Winery
Pedroncelli Winery
Peju Province Winery
Perry Creek Winery
Pezzi King Vineyards
Puccioni Vineyards
R & B Cellars
Rancho San Miguel Winery
Rancho Zabaco Winery
Ravenswood Quarry
Red Truck Wines
Renwood Winery
Ridge Lytton Springs
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Biale Vineyards
Rock Wall Wine Company
Rombauer Vineyards
Rosenblum Cellars
Rotta Winery
Rued Winery
Rusina Wines
Saddleback Cellars
San Joaquin Wine Company
Sapphire Hill Vineyards & Winery
Sausal Winery
Sbragia Family Vineyards
Scott Harvey Wines
Sebastiani Vineyards
Seghesio Family Vineyards
Selby Winery
Sera Fina Cellars
Sextant Wines
Shannon Ridge
Simoncini Vineyards
Sobon Estate
Spenker Winery
St. Amant Winery
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard
Starlite Vineyards
Starry Night Winery
Steele Wines
Stephen & Walker Winery
Stonehedge Winery
Storrs Winery & Vineyards
Storybook Mountain Vineyards
Talty Vineyards & Winery
Terra d’Oro – Trinchero Family Estates
The Federalist
The Lucas Winery
The Other Guys
The Terraces
Three Wine Company
Tin Barn Vineyards
Tofanelli Family Vineyard
Trattore Estate Winery & Vineyard
Trentadue Winery
Tres Sabores
Trione Vineyards & Winery
Turley Wine Cellars
V. Sattui Winery
Valdez Family Winery
Valley of the Moon Winery/Heck Estates
Van Ruiten Family Winery
Villa Toscano Winery
Vino Noceto
Virgil’s Vineyard
Wilson Winery & Vineyards
Wine Guerrilla
ZinAlley Winery
Zynthesis Cellars – Wheelhouse Wine Cellars
02 Mar 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Grand wine tasting – 2/28/9

The San Francisco Chronicle Grand Wine tasting was held at the Herbst Pavillion in Fort Mason on the 28th from 2 to 5 PM.  The Pavillion was packed with a large number of wineries and attendees.  The event sold out of the 5500 tickets well in advance.  The crowd was big but I do not think all 5500 people were there at one time — maybe a peak of 4500 or so.  I was sharing a table with Eric Kent Wine Cellars.  Kent was pouring his 2007 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley; 2007 Kalen’s Big Boy Blend (syrah) and 2007 Bennett Valley Syrah.  All of Kent’s wine were fantastic as usual.  It should be noted that the Kalen’s Big Boy Blend won a gold medal at the SF Chronicle and a score of 94 from the Wine Spectator.  So, you can imagine that the wine easily lived up to its name. :)  

I was pouring the 2007 The Angel’s Share, white Rhone Blend, Russian River Valley; 2007 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.  The Angel’s Share was showing particularly well on Saturday while the Pinot Noir was a bit tight but opened up with some decanting.  I had just brought along one bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon just to let interested people try it.  As it turns out, the Cabernet Sauvignon was very well received.  I was very happy that all of the wines were showing quite well especially The Angel’s Share.  We were fairly busy pouring samples the entire time.  So, I was not able to really go do any tasting of the other wines at the event.  It is a bit of bummer to not be able to go taste other wines as that is a key part of the wine industry — competative analysis, finding new blends and training your palate. 

Several bottles of my 2007 Pinot Noir were donated for the media tasting area.  I am curious to see if any press / wine reviews come out of the event.  It would be nice to get some media coverage out of the event.

The event was a very good event and a great way to try some outstanding wines from all over the country.  The competition had entries for 26 states and over 4700 total wines spread over 50 category.  I would suggest that you look to attend this event next year.  You will not be disappointed.

04 Feb 2009 19th Annual Zap tasting at Fort Mason – January 31, 2009

It was a beautiful day in the SF Bay Area!  The tasting event was really quite nice as we got in with the trade (it is much more sane than the general tasting….1500 vs. 10,000 people).  The 2006 vintage appears to be fairly good with some standouts especially in the Mendocino region.  Zinfandel has a very wide range of aroma/flavor descriptors which range from a earthy, spicey (fresh cracked black pepper) to jammy, intense fruit (often with dried fruit characteristics).  At the ZAP grand tasting, the range seems to be best described by the Bradford Mountain Winery 2006 Grist Vineyard on the cracker pepper range to the Calcareous Vineyard 2006 Kate’s Vineryard, Paso Robles.  The overall vintage of 2006 seems to be above average.  Mendocino had a very good showing in the 2006 vinetage while Napa Valley did not show terribly well based on my limited tasting.  Note: Given the number of tastings in short period of time — as it has been said, “your milage my vary”.  Please consider this a relative rating of quality.

Favorite wineries:
Bradford Mountain Winery
Calcarerous Vineyards
Selby Winery
Storrs Winery
Renwood Winery

The scale is based on 5 stars being the best possible.  Normally, I would do a 100 point scale or a WSET based detail wine description however I did not have time to do that type of analysis. 

Artezin Wines (www.artezinwines.com)
3.5 stars — 2007 Mendocino County, Zinfandel — $18
Aroma: raspberry, cherry; Palate: medium- body, light and pleasing.  This is a light  body wine that is nice now but will probably not hold longer than 12 to 18 months from now — a great summer BBQ wine.

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves (www.bellaWinery.com)
2.5 to 3 stars — 2006 Lily hill vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $25
Aroma: banana, blue fruit, baby powder; Palate: similar to aromas plus dried bananas but has a medium+ concentration.   The wine could have been much more given the concentration but the banana flavor/aroma is distracting.

2 stars — 2006 Dry Creek — $35
Aroma: sulphur and wet cedar on the nose; palate follows the nose.

Bradford Mountain Winery – Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.bradfordmountain.com)
3.5 – 4 stars: 2006 Grist Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley:
Aromas: cracked black pepper, baking spices, red fruit; palate: medium body, medium+ length, flavors: cracked black pepper, baking spices, red fruit

4 stars: 2005 “El Grandate”, fortified wine, 18.5%abv, 10% residule sugar (100 grams/liter):
Aromas: raisin, fig, dried currants, dried fruits; Palate: raisin,s fig, dried currants, medium+ concentrations.
This is a very nice, balanced fortified wine — good example of what can be done with zinfandel made in the port style of fortified wines.

Calcarerous Vineyard – Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.calcareous.com)
3.5 – 4 stars: 2005 “Twisted Sisters”, Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles — $29
Aromas: meat, soy sauce (slight), black fruit; Palate: red cherry, pomegranite, chalky/mineral, slightly dried fruit, medium+ concentration.

4 stars: 2006 Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles — $30
Aromas: pronounced intensity — blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry); Color: opaque Ruby core -> ruby rim; Palate: blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry), light baking spice; medium + concentration.
This wine has a nice level of fruit intensity, layered flavors, medium+ palate intensity.  The wine will evolved into something really nice over the next 2 years.

Cosentino Winery — Yountville, Napa Valley (www.cosentinowinery.com)
2.5 – 3 stars: 2006 Estate, Ancient Vines, Lodi — $40
Aromas: red fruit, very ripe fruit bordering on dried fruit; the fruit is a bit too dry and does not bode well for the longevity of this wine.

Dancing Lady Wines — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.dancingladywines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Old Vine & Old Vine Clone, Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley – $20
Aromas: medium+ intensity, black fruit, red fruit; Palate: medium- tannins which are a bit drying.
The wine is definitely a drink now as the fruit is starting to taste dried up.  It is nice now but will not hold more than 12 to 18 months.
Note: this wine won a silver at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

3.5 – 4 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley — $30
Aromas: sweet mincemeat pie, cranberry; palate: concentration medium+, flavors: cranberry, cherry, strawberry.
The wine as a nice concentration, balance of aroma/flavor intensity and balanced acidity.  The wine is drink now but can be held for 2 to 3 years.
Note: this wine won a gold at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

D-Cubed Cellars — St. Helena, Napa Valley (www.DCubedCellars.com)
3 stars: 2006 Napa Valley — $27
Aromas/Flavors: dried red cherry, red fruit

Downing Family Vineyards — Napa, Napa Valley (www.DFWines.com)
2 to 2.5 stars — 2006 H & H Vineyard, Oakville — $29
Aromas: dried fruit, prune, diacyel (buttery); Palate: dried red fruit, oak. 
The wine tasted like it had been added a bit too long in oak as the fruit was starting to dry out vs. the tannins in the wine.  The wine should be drank now and not held.

Edmeades — Redwood Valley, Mendocino (www.edmeades.com)
4 – 4.5 stars: 2005 Piffero Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge
Aromas: pronounced intensity, ripe fruit, floral, cedar; Palate: red cherry, raspberry, cedar, with smoke on the finish; medium+ concentration, very balanced wine.

4 stars: 2007 Zinfandel, Mendocino County — $18
Aromas: blueberry, dark cherry, perfume; Palate: blueberry, dark cherry, perfume — layered, complex and very well balanced; medium+ length.
This wine is a great value for the money! It is smooth, easy drinking with a surprising level of complexity for low priced premium level wine.

3 to 3.5 stars: 2006 Ciapusci Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, Ciapusci, Mendocino Ridge — $30
Color: medium ruby; Aromas: perfume, blue fruit; Palate: tart red cherry, blueberry, mineral.
This is a lean wine with more of an old world style which is suprising for Edmeades.

4 stars: 2006 Zeni Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge
Aroma: smoke, violets, Rainier cherry; Palate: black fruit, Rainier cherry; Medium+ concentration

Four Vines Winery — Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.fourvines.com)
3.5 stars: 2006 Maverick, Amador County
Aroma: violets, red fruit; Palate: Medium+ concentration; flavors — red cherry; medium- tannins.
The wine is at its peak from now until the next 6 months — do not cellar this wine!  If you have this wine, please break out and enjoy!

2.5 to 3 stars: 2006 Biker, Paso Robles
Aroma: slight soy sauce, red fruit; Palate: medium- tannins which are drying on the finish, red fruit, cranberry.

Note: I have really enjoyed the Four Vines wines in the past several years.  However, the quality of the wine seems to have slipped a bit.  I was disappointed with the wines I tried.

Gamba vineyards and Winery — Fulton, N. Sonoma (www.GambaWinery.com)
3.5 stars: 2007 Estate Vineyard, Old Vine, Russian River Valley — $45
Aromas: Medium intensity; red currant, cranberry; Palate: red currant, red cranberry; Medium+ acidity.
The wine was nicely balanced with lively acidity that should help it age.  The style of this wine is a change from the previous two vintages which is more concentrated, fruit bomb old vine.  I would like to see Gus (the winemaker) take the style to between the 2005 and 2007 vintage — it would be more elegant and complex.

3 stars: 2007 Moratto Vineyard, Old Vine, Russian River Valley — $45
Aroma: dried red fruit, hint of cracked black pepper; Palate: medium slightly drying tannins, flavors = dried red fruit, slight cracked black pepper.

Hendry — Napa, Napa valley (www.HendryWines.com)
3 stars: 2006 Block 7 & 22, Napa Valley — $30
Aroma: medium+ intensity, slightly lactic, red fruit; Palate: black cherry, blackberry; medium+ acidity, medium+ length.
The wine was not a good as the last several vintages of the Block 7 zinfandel.  The wine is enjoyable now but will not hold more than 2 years.

Howell Mountain Vineyards — Rutherford, Napa Valley (www.HowellMountain.com)
2.5 stars: 2006 Black Sears, Napa County, Howell Mountain — $38
Aroma: medium+ intensity, dried red and black fruit (raisin, prune); Palate: Medium+ drying tannins, flavors of dried fruit, prune. 
This wine is clearly made from mountain fruit given the tannins.  The fruit seems to have been left too long on the wine given the dried fruit characteristics coming through so strongly.

Klinker Brick Winery — Lodi, Central Valley (www.klinkerbrickwinery.com)
3.5 to 4 stars: 2006 Old Vine, Lodi — $18
Nose: floral (violet), fresh bread (brioche), banana, red fruit, cola, root beer; Palate: flavor matched the aromas, medium+ concentration, very balanced.
This is a great value, easy to get and good with so many different foods.

Ledson Winery & Vineyards — Kenwood, Sonoma Valley (www.ledson.com)
3 stars: 2005 Old Vine, Mendocino County — $36
Aroma: red fruit; Palate: medium+ fine-grained tannins, flavors: cherry, baking spice

2.5 to 3 stars: 2005 Old Vine, Sonoma County — $40
Aroma: concentrated fruit, savory; Palate: Medium+ intensity; flavors=red and black fruit, boysenberry, savory, black fruit

Limerick Lane Cellars — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.limericklanewines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Collins Vineyard, Zinfandel, Russian River Valley — $30
Aroma: slightly reduced, black & red fruit, slight black pepper, earthy; Palate: slightly drying tannins; red druit, black fruit, black olive, tangy finish.

This wine was not as good as prior vintages which is unfortunately as Limerick Lane Cellars makes tremendous and distinctive tannins — velvety soft tannins, blue fruit on nose/palate, and explosive in the mouth.

Mauritson Family Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.mauritsonwines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Cemetery Vineyard, Rockpile — $39
Aroma: floral, red fruit, cedar; Palate: medium+ concentration, red fruit; medium+ tannins (noticable)

Mazzocco Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.mazzocco.com)
4 stars — Pony Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $32
Aroma/Palate: red cherry, raspberry; Palate: medium+ concentration, round mouthfeel, silky tannins –> overall very balanced

Novy Family Wines — Santa Rosa, N. Sonoma (www.NovyFamilyWines.com)
4 stars: 2006 Papera Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley — $33
Aroma: toasted oak, carmel, blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry); Palate: medium+ concentration, medium, silky tannins; flavors: christmas cake (cloves, allspice), blue fruit, toasted oak

Opolo Vineyards — Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.opolo.com)
3.5 to 4 stars: 2006 Summit Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Westside — $19
Aroma: black fruit( cherry, currant), floral; Palate: medium+ concentration, flavors: caramelized sugar, jammy, red & black fruit; medium+ acidity

Outpost Estate Wines — Angwin, Napa Valley (www.outpostwines.com)
2.5 to 3 stars: 2006 Outpost vineyard, Napa valley, Howell Mountain — $45
Aroma: oak, cedar, red fruit (raspberry), black pepper, violets, yellow mustard; Palate: oak, cedar, raspberry, spicy and tangy acidity on finish
The yellow mustard aroma is quite distracting.

Perry Creek Winery — Fair Play, Sierra Foothills (www.perrycreek.com)
2 stars: 2006 Zinman, Sierra Foothills — $14
Aroma: sulphur, herbaceous; Palate: herbaceous; length: medium-
The wine was on the thin side and not nearly as good as the last few vintages of this wine.

Renwood Winery — Plymouth, Sierra Foothills (www.renwood.com)
3.5 stars — 2006 Jack Rabbit Vineyard
Aroma: light intensity; red fruit, sweet spices; Palate: light body, Medium+ length

3.5 stars — 2005 Grandmere, Amador County — $35
Aroma: medium+ intensity — Cherry, cola (nearly pinot noir); Palate: red cherry, pomegranite; medium- concentration.

3.5 stars — 2005 Old Vine, Amador County — $18
Aroma: red fruit (currant, cherry), medium intensity; Palate: medium- tannins, flavors: red fruit, cherry, raspberry, red currant –> light, clean finish

Rosenblum Cellars — Alameda, Bay Area (www.RosenblumCellars.com)
4 stars — 2006 Rockpile Road Vineyard, Rockpile — $35
Aroma: pronounced intensity; aromas: maple syrup; Palate: blackberry, blackberry, baking spice, black cherry, boysenberry; medium+ concentration.
This is a made in the typical Rosenblum fruit bomb style of wines.

Selby Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.SelbyWinery.com)
4 to 4.5 stars: 2007 Bobcat, Sonoma County — $34
A bit closed down on the nose; Aroma: blue fruit, raspberry; Palate: blue fruit, raspberry
This is a very balanced wine with good concentrated but not great concentration.

3.5 to 4 stars: 2007 Old Vines, Sonoma County — $28
Aroma: boysenberry, red cherry, black cherry; Palate: eucalyptus, blue fruit; medium+ concentrated

Carol Shelton Wines — Santa Rosa, N. Sonoma (www.carolshelton.com)
2.5 stars: 2006 Wild Thing, Cox Vineyard, Mendocino County — $28
medium balanced, middle of road but has a poor finish (overly cedar)

2.5 stars: 2005 Maple Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $33
Aromas: violet, perfume, cherry, cedar; Palate: cherry, cranberry, lactic finish

St. Francis Winery & Vineyard — Santa Rosa, Sonoma Valley (www.Stfranciswinery.com)
2.5 stars: 2000 Reserve, Old Vine, Pagani Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Aromas: wet wood, black currant, warm spices; Palate: savory, red fruit, slightly drying tannins with a bleu cheese finish (this is very unpleasant)

Storrs Winery & Vineyards — Santa Cruz, Bay Area (www.storrswine.com)
3 to 3.5 stars: 2005 Lion Oaks vineyard, Old Vine, Santa Clara County — $35
Aromas: lavendar, anise, black olive; palate: light body, red fruit, medium length pleasant finish

4 stars: 2005 Rusty Ridge Vineyard, Old Vine, Santa Clara County — $30
Aroma: slight dried fruit, rose petal, red fruit, baking spice; Palate: medium+ concentration; flavors: raspberry, cranberry, pomegranite, slight cedar; medium+ length

Stryker Sonoma — Geyserville, N. Sonoma (www.strykersonoma.com)
3 stars: 2006 Estate old vine, Alexander Valley — $26
Aroma: floral, sweet olive, raspberry, currant; Palate: raspberry, red currant, warm splices

Taft Street Winery — Sebastopol, N. Sonoma (www.taftstreetwinery.com)
3 stars: 2007 Cobblestone Vineyard, Sonoma
Aroma: prounounced intensity; fresh raspberry, allspice; Palate: cranberry, drieed raspberry

Terra d’Oro — Plymouth, Sierra Foothills (www.terradorowinery.com)
3.5 stars: 2006 Amador County — $18
Aroma: medium intensity; ripe fruit and slightly dried red fruit; Palate: medium+ concentration; flavors: red fruit (cherry, currant)