If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and happen to enjoy Zinfandel, there is an event you should not miss, the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) Festival, January 27th- 29th, at Fort Mason in San Francisco. There will be dozens and dozens of producers on hand with thousands of Zinfandel enthusiasts talking about and my gut tells me, drinking lots of great Zinfandels.
En lieu of next weekend’s event in San Francisco, this week we will be exploring the Zinfandel shelves at Trader Joe’s. Most of TJs’ Zinfandels stem from the Dry Creek AVA in Northern Sonoma County, a few from Paso Robles and sadly, not one from Amador County – in the Sierra Foothills. In preperation for these postings, I decided to reach out to a very well known wine writer and critic named Steve Heimoff for his input on what he looks for in a Zinfandel, particularly from Dry Creek. My question evoked an answer which became the topic of Steve’s daily blog post. Here’s a snippet:
“He asked, “When you taste a Dry Creek Zin, what are you looking for in the wine?”
Interesting question, one that brought up all kinds of considerations.
I could certainly say things about Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, which I happen to like very much. But his question wasn’t “How would you describe classic Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel?” If it had been, I would have said something about wild berry flavors, a brambly, briary mouthfeel and tons of dusty spices. Instead, Matt’s question was “When you taste a Dry Creek Zin, what are you looking for?” (Note: WordPress isn’t formating the left margin correctly.)
That’s a horse of a different color.”
My question sparked off an examination of fundamentally what we, as wine drinkers, are actively doing when we taste a wine and form our conclusions of why we do/don’t like a wine. I have to give a shout out to Jeff and CabFranc for our discussion earlier in the week on this very same topic, cheers guys!
I’ve already posted one review of Hamilton-Stevens’ 2009 Zinfandel from Dry Creek, which I really didn’t care for because I felt it does not accurately represent the characteristics which make Zinfandel such a great wine. It was too sweet and had very little zest or spice to it. However, there will be several more postings this week about other wines, at least two, I really liked because I feel they are great representations of Zinfandel and value for your dollar. The wines we are going to be looking at are:
- Monday – Canard Sauvage 2009 Zinfandel, Dry Creek ($10)
- Tuesday – Trader Joe’s 2009 Coastal Zinfandel, Central Coast ($4)
- Wednesday – Dry Creek Valley 2008 Heritage Zinfandel, Dry Creek ($13)
- Thursday – Trader Moon’s 2009 Zinfandel, California ($5)
- Friday – Leonhardt 2008 Zinfandel, Dry Creek ($10)
- Saturday – Castoro Cellars 2007 Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($8)
- Sunday – Stonehedge 2008 Zinfandel Reserve, Dry Creek ($10)
If may suggest, go to your local TJ’s, grab one or more of these bottles and join in the Week of Zinfandel. I look forward to the discussions in the comments section about these wines!
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