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Tasting Event

Upcoming Varietal Wine Festivals

There’s nothing like a good wine festival for maximum tasting efficiency. We all love tasting at wineries and nothing beats that experience. And hitting a retail or restaurant tasting to try a few wines of the same varietal or different bottles from one maker is a good time. But if you really want to explore the gamut of available in wines in a category, head for a festival.

For lovers of red wine, and Zinfandel in particular, we highly recommend ZAP’s (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) Zinfandel Festival. It’s coming up soon (January 28 - 31) and takes place in San Francisco. There are a variety of events starting with the “Flights!” showcase of Zinfandels on Wednesday, which includes sit-down tastings, a blending session and walk-around tasting. The closing event is ZAP’s 18th Annual Grand Zinfandel Tasting. Grand is perhaps an understatement. There will be more than 250 wineries pouring Zinfandel at Fort Mason Center. For just $69, less if you purchase tickets in advance, you have the opportunity to choose from a stunningly broad selection of the wine most uniquely associated with California.

We have spent a lot of time at Zin-focused wineries in California but are really looking forward to this event. We just know that we’ll find some great wines we’ve never tried before. If you do go, we have a couple of tips for you. First, parking for large events at Fort Mason Center is sparse. Take public transportation if you can and and be prepared to walk several blocks if you drive. Second, events like this make it easy to accidentally overindulge. Be sure to spit as much as possible and drink a lot of water. Have a good hearty meal before arriving too. Finally, be safe, especially if you drive.

For something completely different, join us at the 4th Annual International Alsace Varietals Festival put on by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers. The event takes place on Saturday, February 21 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. The focus there will be Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat. It’s the only such event held in the United States. If you like these varietals, it is truly a unique opportunity.

There are three different segments to the event with separate tickets for each. It starts with a 3-hour technical conference at 8:15AM. You can clutch your coffee and nosh on your doughnut while listening to wine makers and growers discuss the ins and outs of making Alsace-style wine.

Starting at 12:30, enjoy the grand tasting that features wines from around the world as well as food and music. The tasting goes on for three delicious hours. Then, starting at 6:30PM, there is a winemaker’s dinner at Scharffenberger Cellars.

Tickets for both events are still on sale, but some of the individual events sell out quickly. Click on over to the web sites soon and see about joining us at these great festivals.

This article is original to Copyright 2008 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.