If you like Zinfandel, the ZAP festival was the place to be in July. People with a zest for zin braved last month’s heat wave to try Zins from 40 California wineries at the beautiful Arboretum at South Seattle College. (Thankfully the location offered lots of shady trees to escape the harsh sun.)
The range of Zins was breath-taking. I soon discovered that I prefer the complex, big Zins to the lighter ones. We had several favorites – and most of them tended to be blended with some Syrah. (Are we used to Washington wines, or what?)
- Mauritson Wines (Healdsburg) – Zins from three single vineyards, each with different soils; we loved them all and enjoyed talking to winemaker Clay Mauritson too. He is passionate about his wines – it’s not surprising that so many of them have received accolades.
- Michael & David Winery (Lodi Vineyards) – Great wine, unforgettable wine names and great Zins – from Earthquake to Lust to 7 Deadly Zins. And extra points for marketing the brands – dozens of people at the event had stickers “Lust” and “7 Deadly Zins” plastered on their hats, their shirts and even their wine glasses!
- Trentadue Winery (Alexander Valley) – Most value – 2005 Sonoma County Zinfindel won a double gold at the 2007 Sonoma County Harvest Fair and according to my notes, only cost about $14. This Zin was blended with 20% Petite Syrah and 4% Syrah.
- Steele Wines (Lake County) – The first Zin I ever tasted was from Steele about 10 years ago; more recently, in 2007, we discovered Writer’s Block at a restaurant in Napa Valley. As a writer, reading the wine label was as much fun as tasting the wine! Buy a bottle and you’ll see what I mean.
- Cline Cellars (Sonoma) – Seriously, who hasn’t heard of Cline wines? You can find many of their wines in grocery stores in Washington state. But try the 2007 Big Break Zin, which received 89 points from Wine Spectator.
The best news about the first annual Kitsap Wine Festival is that it will be back in 2010 in Bremerton. And it’s an event we recommend that you attend each year.
Located on the waterfront at the beautiful Kitsap Conference Center, Sunday’s wine festival was a celebration of 35 wineries from Washington and Oregon and some of the best food we have enjoyed at such events. (Amazing seafood appetizers from Anthony’s Homeport and smoked specialties from Crimson Cove were our favorites, but it all was delicious!)
Harborside Fountain Park was gorgeous, the weather cooperated, the music by North End JazzQuintent was much appreciated, and the spirits were high.
Terry Halverson, general manager of the conference center, told the Kitsap Sun that tickets to the event were in such demand that someone even posted a Craigslist ad requesting four of them.
We enjoyed all the wines we tasted, but a special shout-out goes to:
If you get a chance, try to taste these wines yourself in the near future.
I don’t often blog about Chateau Ste. Michelle because the Washington winery has such a high profile and is very a well-known brand, and I tend to write about smaller wineries. But we recently pulled out a bottle of their limited release 2005 Syrah Wahluke Slope and I simply just had to share its beauty here!
We started the evening by pairing this fine Syrah with sharp cheese, and then moved onto barbequed steaks. Luscious. Jammy. Smoky. Plush.
And from the tasting notes: “Hints of warm boysenberry fruit and roasted espresso grace this soft Syrah. Plush on the palate, this wine is fleshy, viscous and mouth-filling. It is a tribute to the Wahluke Slope style of fruit – forward and jammy.”
No surprise that Chateau Ste. Michelle 2005 Syrah Wahluke Slope received 90 points from Wine & Spirits. And the good news – you can still buy a bottle – but be fast – it is a limited release!