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.