Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP)

1:03 PM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Last weekend was the ZAP Grand Tasting. It is always a great time...and educational too! Every year in San Francisco they have a grand tasting at Fort Mason. It is two giant warehouses full of booths represented by various Zinfandel producers. this year, the 19 annual ZAP weekend was host to 211 wineries. Each winery had at least two wines to taste. Some wineries had up to ten different wines to sample!

As a member of ZAP I was able to enter the tasting an hour earlier than the general public. Last year I had attended with a good friend of mine and we ended up getting a little toasted by the end of the event and had trouble finding a safe way to get home. (I am not a fan of public transportation). This year we got ourselves a hotel room within walking distance of the event. Genius!!

We got our hot pink wrist bands and entered the first auditorium. Immediately you can hear the rumble of the press and winemakers who were allowed in even earlier than we. Upon entering you are handed a wine glass and a baguette. There are two rows of booths on either side of the area and huge islands of fruit, cheese and breads dotting the center. We headed to XYZin first as the winemaker is a good friend of ours. The host at the table pours for you and the pours are deceptively small. It is large enough to taste but small enough to not get you knackered by the third booth. This is no exaggeration, these wines were in excess of 16% alcohol.

We made our way through the booths, sometimes choosing a favorite from last year, or a familiar brand and sometimes venturing to a new label. Sometimes the label caught our eye or the name of the place or we had just heard of it somewhere before. As time went by I got more and more forgetful of what I liked and didn't like so I had the great idea of taking a picture with my phone of the ones I liked. Here are the wines I liked the most this year:

Kokomo 2008 from Sonoma

Artezin, 2009 from Mendocino, also a favorite last year.

Plungerhead 2009 Old Vines from Lodi

Always a favorite, Hendry 2009 from Napa

John Tyler 2006 from the Russian River Valley

These were my favorites and as you can see, they are from all over California and are spread out in vintages as well. Another super fun part about going to ZAP this year was the free photo booth provided by a vendor. We went in it a few times, each time getting a bit sillier and sillier.

All in all it was a great success this year and I look forward to next year's Grand Tasting to learn about some new wines. Until then I shall spend the rest of this year tasting my new favorites.

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