Sunday, January 30, 2005

ZAP - The Morning After...

Spent the day (1.29) at the Zap (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Festival. Crowded won't even begin to describe the scene in the Festival Pavilion, and the Herbst Pavilion was downright claustrophobic. Craziness! It was like trying to get to the front of the stage at a big concert. Earlier in the day, when only the sponsors and the press were milling about, it was nice. I didn't have to wait to taste a thing. When the multitudes poured in at 1 pm, things got crazy. I managed to hide out in the Press Box and try some of the best of the best. While I'm not any kind of a Zinfandel fan, I did enjoy -

Bonny Doon NV Cardinal Zin "Yeastly Bold Vines"
Yup, instead of the standard-bearing "Beastly Old Vines" on the old stalwart Cardinal Zin - this stuff has spent a lot of downtime on the lees , resulting in a really striking character that's missing from your usual California Zin.

Starry Night Winery 2002 Old Vine Zinfandel, Tom Feeney Ranch, Russian River Valley
A real classy number. Nicely structured and balanced.

Burrell School 2002 CV Zinfandel/Matero Blend, Santa Clara Valley
Of course, my favorite of the day would be a strange Zinfandel/Matero (our old friend Mourvedre) blend from another hometown hero. Good fruit, but with that visceral earthiness that I like.

Those are the ones that stick in my memory the most. I didn't get to do nearly as much tasting as I would like, and a lot of it was just...well...kind of unmemorable if not bad.

I'll tell you, I saw so many hipster kids there. Guys in trucker hats and girls in faux fur rubbing shoulders with tweedy Harry Waugh types. Late in the afternoon, I went out the side door for a cigarette on the pier. I saw three old men in suspenders and caps, all lazed back in folding chairs, snoring loudly with their empty tasting glasses clinking at their feet. A couple girls nearby had an impromptu picnic of baguettes and cheese and a bottle swiped from somewhere. Seagulls, loudly soared overhead, and the seals barked under the pier. San Francisco in a nutshell.

My compatriots and I did some meager sales, but it ended well. We all had a lovely time. See you all at the Rhone Rangers event in March.

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