At the end of every January, California’s wine world converges on the Presidio for a not to be missed event in celebration of Zinfandel. The Zin Experience, hosted by the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP), is now in its 24th year. The Experience, which takes place next week, January 29 – 31, is one of our favorite annual SF parties and if you’ve never been, we highly recommend you get tickets now. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t miss this amazing wine extravaganza.
1. Zinfandel is having a moment. In recent years, Zinfandel had sort of gone by the wayside like butter oaky Chardonnays. As winemakers made the red more alcoholic, heavy, and on the sweet side, people were drinking less and less of it. However, now, it’s making a diverse comeback and there is no better way to experience new Zinfandel by tasting it.
2. You can learn about the art of pairing wine and food. Thursday night’s event, Epicuria, centers on the experience of pairing Zinfandel with delectable dishes. Over 30 top Zinfandel producers have each paired with a Bay Area restaurant. The chefs and the wine makers work together to come up with a bite and sip that pair perfectly, be it smoked duck and aged old vine Zin or pulled pork and fresh from the barrel Zin.
3. You’ll become a Zin connoisseur. At ZAP’s festival, there will be over 100 Zinfandel producers pouring and talking about their wines. You might not realize how educational it is, but as you taste the different Zins side by side, you’ll begin to decipher subtle differences in taste and body. Walk around Saturday’s grand tasting and you’ll learn a lot about how the wine is grown, harvested, and produced.
4. You can shop for your favorite Zins. Many of the wines poured at the tastings are harder to find Zins that are sold only at the winery were they are made. However on Saturday, at the large tasting festival, there is a General Store with many of the event’s beloved bottles on sale.
5. You can taste like a Sommelier. Also on Saturday, there are a series of workshops and seminars that focus on the importance of terrior when it comes to tasting Zinfandel. Some of California’s top sommeliers, like Christopher Sawyer, Jamie Harding, and Tracey Berkner will be on hand to walk you through the tasting and answer your most wine geek questions.
Photo Credit: Zinfandel Advocates and Producers