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Posts Tagged ‘Sonoma’

A bad cold kept me from attending last Saturday’s 20th annual Zinfandel Festival Grand Tasting, presented by ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center. Luckily my overqualified envoy was happy to taste some 50 California Zins, and he’s provided this list of six that stood out:

2007 Carol Shelton Rocky Reserve Rockpile Zinfandel, $33

2007 Guglielmo Private Reserve Estate Santa Clara Valley Zinfandel, $22

2008 Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Valley Zinfandel, $38

2008 MoniClaire Estate Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, $23.99

2008 Ravenswood Barricia Vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel, $35 

2007 Scott Harvey Vineyard 1869 Amador County Zinfandel, $45 

If you’d like to try one of these wines but aren’t sure which to choose, here’s a cheat sheet—borrowed from my 2009 article on California Zinfandel—on Zins in three of the regions represented above:

Amador County
Old vines are especially abundant in the Fiddletown AVA of Amador County—an area hotter than its surrounding regions [in the Sierra Foothills], where Zinfandel accounts for three-quarters of all grapes grown. … Sierra Foothills Zinfandels may occasionally get a bad rap for a lack of finesse—blame the high alcohol that results from the region’s blazing heat. But the best examples can actually boast deep, intoxicating aromas, clean flavors, and plenty of fruit on the palate.

Dry Creek Valley
It’s generally thought that the wines made from Zinfandel grown above the fog line in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley are the best examples of the varietal you can find—in California if not in the world. In an irony that speaks to Zinfandel’s status as a truly “populist” grape, much of that Dry Creek Zinfandel acreage was originally planted with the intent to cultivate it as bulk wine. Hot days, cool nights, and fine craftsmanship have all allowed the wine those grapes produced to escape that humble fate. … Spicy, berry-filled Zin…

Rockpile
The Rockpile AVA adjacent to Dry Creek is also making a name for itself with interesting Zins that are lush and intense.

My article didn’t mention Zinfandels from the Sonoma or Santa Clara Valleys specifically, but you can read more about the Gundlachs, Bundschus, and Guglielmos—and their families’ long histories with California winemaking—here and here.

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Last week I interviewed Doug and Janet Fletcher about the role that food and wine have played in their relationship. The short answer is “a big one”—no surprise given that Doug is a vice president at Terlato Wine Group, overseeing winemaking at Terlato’s wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara, and Janet is a prominent food writer who pens the cheese column for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written award-winning cookbooks.

I’ll save the juiciest bits from the interview for my upcoming Marin Magazine article featuring the Fletchers, but let me share this: the couple has invented a Friday night cocktail. It’s called a Rosebud, made with four ounces white wine to one ounce Campari—shaken and served up, with an orange peel twist. “It’s fresh and a little bitter, which Janet and I both like,” says Doug. Sounds delicious, and I can’t wait to sub it for my usual Friday night cocktail, a traditional gin martini (Bombay Sapphire, shaken, served up with three olives if I make it, two if my husband does).

I must have had aperitifs on the brain after this interview, because while eating at the Front Porch in Bernal Heights on Saturday, I scanned the “bevies” menu and was immediately drawn to something called Tha Dirty South: amontillado sherry shaken with ice and served up, with an olive. Oh wait, does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s basically a sherry martini, but drinking it I somehow felt a little more… genteel, I guess you could say. Goes great with crab fritters.

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