Has it really been twenty years since ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) first held their modest gathering, spearheaded by Ravenswood founder and Sonoma wine icon Joel Peterson (for a glimpse into Joel’s head, check out our interview from Dec. 2008)?
Believe it or not, ZAP’s 20th Annual Zinfandel Festival is, indeed, taking place Thursday-Saturday, January 27-29, and tickets are now on sale. Like most wine events that have grown to become ginormous in size, folks tend to have mixed reviews of the event (or, put more accurately, mixed reviews of the attendees of the event) but some of the positive press comes by way of people for whom I have a great deal of respect, such as my adopted papa Charlie Olken – so there is certainly some fun to be had, and of course the opportunity to taste a sh*tload of Zinfandel from dozens of producers.
It’s in that spirit that we’ve giving away 2 sets of 5 tickets each to two of the 20th Zinfandel Festival events – the Good Eats & Zin Pairing on Thursday, Jan. 27, and the Grand Zin Tasting on Saturday, Jan. 29 – and you can win just by leaving a comment on this post!
Details on how to win are after the jump. Just be forewarned that I’m not independently wealthy and so rather than transport winners from any worldwide destination to San Fran. via my 70-foot yacht staffed by vestal virgins, the winning peeps are on their own for any travel and expenses and the giveaway is open to U.S. readers only (sorry, loyal Estonian readers!).
Here’s how this is gonna go down:
- Leave a comment on this post and tell us about your favorite Zin. American? Italian Primitivo? Big producer with a cheap bottling, or high-end expensivo limited-availability run from a small winemaking outfit? Shout it out in the comments!
- On Friday Jan. 7, I will randomly select two comments as the winners – one will receive five tickets to the Good Eats & Zin Pairing on Thursday, Jan. 27 6-9PM (a $700 value), and the other will receive five tickets to the Grand Zin Tasting on Saturday, Jan. 29 2-5PM (a $350 value). Transportation and any other expenses are not included – just the tickets, people! – but you can use those tickets in any way you see fit so long as it doesn’t violate ZAP’s rules for attendance (i.e., I’m pretty sure you can’t sneak in your 16-year-old nephew). Invite some friends, get your Zin on, and have a ball!
Mama taught me to share, so I’m going to give you a couple of my Zinfandel picks:
- Budget: Ravenswood Zinfandel (CA) – I know that familiarity breeds contempt, but if you’ve been avoiding this ubiquitous Zin because it’s, well, ubiquitous, then you’re missing out on one of the best everyday-with-burgers, black-fruits-and-spicy Zins available. Peterson started a winning formula here, and Ravenswood has been smart enough not to mess with it too much. Widely available in the U.S., and you can often find it for under $10.
- High-end: Draconis French Oak Zinfandel (Lodi) – My high-end Zin picks vary by my mood, but the French Oak-aged offering from Draconis is currently among my faves. Made by the smart and opinionated Matt Powell, the 2007 offers oodles of prune, spices, focused dark fruit and thorough deliciousness. To me, this wine delivers on the potential of Lodi Zin (powerful, luscious, and focused) without creating an overly-alcoholic monstrosity.
Look for more coverage of the above right here as we move closer to the dates of the Zinfandel Festival. Now, let’s here your Zin picks!