The ZAP Zinfandel Festival the end of January, 2009, at Ft Mason in San Francisco was as wonderful as always -- 350 wineries, 850 wines, ALL Zinfandels! Maybe 10,000 people showed up.
I volunteered, working the Heritage Wine booth, had a great time, and tasted some good wines.
No way to taste everything. No way to taste more than a handful without falling over! So I targeted.
My favs that day: Wines from Saxon Brown, a winemaker from Sonoma of whom I had never heard, but by Gum! Their booth was crowded because they were tasting a $120 Zin from 1997, from 110=year-old vines! At the booth, people were irritated to find they were required to taste their way through the firm's 2004, 2005, and 2006 zins first before sampling the biggie.
But boy, were we fooled! Those three younger wines were as good as the very best Zinfandels I've ever tasted in my life! And they were $40 a bottle instead of $120!
And how was the $120 bottle when we finally got to it? Deeee--Vine!! that's how!
All four wines were deep, rich, bordeaux-like in their complexity - what I call A Thinking Man's Wine -- you take a sip, then you have to sit there and think about it for a while because it's so interesting! www.SaxonBrown.com - check them out before the whole rest of the world does!
The Seghesio 2007 Rockpile was intense; Rosenblum was offering its 06 Monte Rosso, one of the great vineyards, and I never pass up a chance to sip a Monte Rosso -- then I found that Rancho Zabaco, home to some affordable/drinkable Zins of no great ambition, was tasting a Monte Rosso too! A 2006 priced at $60! (Ulp!) It was every bit as good as Rosenblum's -- but Rosenblum's is priced at only (!) $45! Rancho Zabaco's "Toreador" Monte Rosso was also terrific, but no price was listed.
Also Da Bomb was Peju Province's 05 Napa (at $48). Notice the better Zins are getting so pricey! I liked it better when not enough people had discovered it!