San Francisco and Rough & Ready CA, February 2011--- Almost 8,000 peopletasted more than 400 wines from 206 Zinfandel wineries at Ft. Mason in SanFrancisco on Saturday, January 29 at TheGrand Tasting, the grand-finale event of the 20th Annual ZinfandelAdvocates & Producers Festival. Décor included enormous multi-colored ballssuspended from the ceiling as well as many touches referencing the “roaringtwenties,” including strolling costumed musicians.
Notable is that this was a year where the Festival reached in many newdirections and offered many new options for the attendees. “We wanted to helppeople personalize their Festival experience this year,” explains Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director, ZinfandelAdvocates & Producers. “Our twenty year anniversary means we know how topresent the wonderful world of Zinfandel, and we challenged ourselves to burstthrough expectations to offer new and compelling ways to learn all about thisgreat grape,” she adds.
Ten years of researching historic Zinfandel vineyards around California and thepropagation of cuttings from those vineyards in The Heritage Vineyard madepossible a very detailed presentation of those results---including tasting thewines---at Flights! Advancing a Legacy: TheZinfandel Chronicles on January 28. Those ten years of research haveresulted in the availability of Zinfandel cuttings for consumers and vintnersalike to purchase and plant on their own terroir. The body of research resentedat Flights was literally unprecedented in the California wine business. “ZAP’scollaboration with UC Davison The Heritage Vineyard project will result in the release of 19 newselections of Zinfandel from historically significant vineyards beginning in2011,” explains Rebecca Robinson.“The growth characteristics, wine characteristics and virus status have beencarefully investigated. No study of this kind has ever been done before for anyvariety in California---thisis precedent setting,” she adds.
Another distinguishing angle thisyear was the involvement of celebrity chef-tv host Nadia G., whose programBitchin‟ Kitchen (www.nadiag.com,http://bitchinlifestyle.tv) has zoomed to enormous popularity on The CookingChannel---having launched initially in her own Montreal kitchen on YouTube. Nadia G.’s rolein the Festival included cutting the ribbon at the Tasting on Saturday, acooking demonstration at Good Eats & Zinand auctioneering some of the lots at Evening With The Winemakers‟ auction on Friday. She also blogged andtweeted throughout the Festival.
Another angle this year was the inclusion of Zinfandel blends at the Grand Tasting---the recognition ofZinfandel’s part in Californiahistory, in that so many vineyards were planted as “mixed blacks.”
Yet another interesting variable this year was that ZAP delineated “ZinTracks,” a way to find a winery by different variables---whether byappellation, price, gender of winemaker, generation-of-ownership, organicproduction, old-vine status, winemaker’s hair color or whether the wine is a Zinfandel blend.
Yet another new and popular option this year were winemaker seminarsgoing on during the Grand Tasting,enabling attendees to stop in for a half-hour of right-from-the-source commentsfrom winemakers. The presentations were on Barrel Samples (by JonathanLachs/Cedarville Vineyards, Kerry Damskey/Trattore Wines), Zin Blends (by MattCline/Three Wines Company, Bill Grant/Four Vines, Joel Peterson/Ravenswood,Morgan Twain-Peterson/Bedrock Wine Company, Eric Braugher/Ridge Vineyards,Karen Birmingham/LangeTwins), Chocolate Pairing (Stefan Tscheppe/Perry Creekand Chris Leamy/Terra d’Oro with chocolate samplings provided by San FranciscoChocolate), Old Vine Zins (by Nils Venge/Saddleback Cellars, Steve Hall/RobertBiale Vineyards, Bruce Walker/Starry Night, Scott Harvey/Scott Harvey Wines,Josh Beckett/Peachy Canyon, Duane Dappen/D-Cubed Cellars), Cheese Pairing(Julie Johnson/Tres Sabores, Bruce Patch/Wine Guerrilla, Shauna Rosenblum/Rockwall Wines, Sue Hoffman/Delicato Family Vineyards/Brazin with cheeseprovided by Fiscalini Cheese) and Single Vineyards (Pete Seghesio/SeghesioFamily Vineyards, Tim Macchia/Macchia, Carol Shelton/Carol Shelton Wines,Marisa Manna/Sbragia Family Vineyards).
Yet another aspect was the availability of recipes from chefs andrestaurateurs at Good Eats & Zin,whether Nadia G.’s peanut butter-and-banana fritters or Joyce Goldstein’sMoroccan Meatball Tagine, Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s Lamb Lollipops, RadioAfrica Kitchen’s Roasted Leg of Lamb with Root Vegetables, Bin 38’s DarkChocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Truffles or Compadres Rio Grille’s StreetTacos Al Pastor.
The ZAP 20th Annual Festival presented four events in three daysshowcasing 206 wineries. Good Eats & Zin,a walkaround food and wine tasting, took place on January 27 at Ft. Mason.On January 28 attendees enjoyed Flights:Stories From The Vineyard, where respected winegrowers told thetales of historic vineyards and researchers from UC Davis presented the resultsof ten years of research. Evening With TheWinemakers, a gala dinner and benefit auction, took place also onJanuary 28. The Grand Tasting,the most comprehensive tasting of Zinfandel in the world, filled two pavilionsat Ft. Mason on January 29. Over the three daysproducers poured their barrel samples and new releases during educationalseminars, culinary demonstrations and decadent food pairings.
ZAP member wineries will be traveling to Kansas City (MO) on March 3and Austin (TX) on March 6. Details:http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n2=803&n1=19&member=
The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is anon-profit, educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ZAP is dedicated toadvancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and itsunique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wineenthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is thepreservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America‟s heritage wine. ZAP‟smembership includes approximately 275 winery-members, 5,000 advocate membersand 100 associate members.
Nadia G., based in Montreal,is the first person to successfully transition from a Web series to prime time.She won an award for best mobile comedy series and was recently named DigitalMedia Woman of the Year at The Canadian New Media Awards. She wrote The Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook: Rock Your Kitchen andLet the Boys Clean Up the Mess (skirt!, 2009), has an onlineboutique at www.nadiag.com, a show on Food Network Canada and has just launchedin American prime time with Bitchin’ Kitchen on the new Cooking Channel(channel 182 on Comcast). Nadia G. looks at the funny side of everydaysituations and turns them into occasions worth celebrating — with food. From'Recession Recipes' and 'Impressing the In-laws' to 'Break-up Brunches,' NadiaG. rocks the kitchen with her tasty techniques and stiletto-sharp wit.
Peanut Butter Banana Fritters Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce
Courtesy Nadia G. of Bitchin' Kitchen
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 pinch sea salt
small pinch of baking soda
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth organic peanut butter
2/3 cup milk
1 liter peanut oil (for deep frying)
1 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup water (for double boiler)
Combine dry ingredients is a bowl and mix.
Add bananas, peanut butter, milk, egg and whisk until consistency issuch that it can be balled up in a spoon.
In a medium sauce pan, heat peanut oil to 375 degrees F.
Using a teaspoon, delicately spoon the peanut-butter-banana batter intothe oil, a few balls at a time and deep fry for 5 minutes until they fluff upand become crispy and golden brown. Drain on wire rack.
In a pot, bring a cup of water to a simmer.
Add a large metal bowl over top of the pot. In the metal bowl add thechocolate and whipping cream then whisk until it melts together.
Drizzle generously over fritters.
707/963-9632, email@example.com www.zinfandel.org
Downloadable high res images:
Good Eats & Zin recipes:http://zinfandel.org/default.asp?cid=1&n1=15&n2=764
Sunridge link to buy cuttings: http://www.sunridgenurseries.com/
ZinTracks at The Grand Tasting:http://www.zinfandel.org/uploads/TastingProgram2011FINAL.pdf
ZAP’s upcoming events in Kansas City andAustin: