A few weeks ago
Kansa City hosted the first ever visit of ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates
and Producers). On April 26 more than 35 Zinfandel producers descended
on Union Station with a plethora of Zinfandel. With over 150 different
styles of Zins to sample, this was not an event the true Zinfandel
lover should have passed over.
This roadshow of wine counted Kansas City as only one of many stops
across the country with visits to New York City and St. Louis sandwiching
the K.C. venue.
According to reports, Kansas City's response was overwhelmingly positive.
Lots of Zin lovers here. Not only was attendance here great but we
showed our support for ZAP by burying the turnout in both St. Louis
and New York City, which boasts a considerably larger wine drinking
It is no surprise Kansas City is one of the faster emerging wine markets
in the U.S. America's grape, Zinfandel has carved out a unique place
in the wine lover's world.
Genetic testing has helped to determine where this wonderfully spicy
grape originated, to an extent. Originally thought to have arisen
from Italy in the form of the Primitivo varietal, Zinfandel now traces
it's heritage to Croatia. The early Italian immagrints brought with
them their wine grapes and started planting Zinfandel throughout California.
Plantings started as early as the Gold rush with vines finding homes
from Cucamonga in the south to areas of Mendicino in the north.
The Heritage Vineyard, roughly one acre large, exists within the University
of California , Davis Research Station and is dedicated to seeking
out, preserving and studying various clones of our Heritage Grape.
Most selections are at least 60 years old and there currently are
90 selections putting down roots at the Davis facility. This is incredible
when you consider the huge number of vines Zinfandle pulled up in
the 70's and 80's in response to the growing thirst for Chardonnay
and Cabernet Sauvignon.
With little doubt, Zinfandel is one of my favorite wines. I love the
way it pairs up with a huge variety of foods. I recently did a wine
dinner where I put a Zinfandel with the Ceasar salad with splendid
results. The spicy character of the grape makes it wonderful with
spicy foods as well as foods with big bold flavors. Styles of Zinfandel
can run from lean to rich and jammy with lots of ripe dark fruit and
a zippy peppery finish.
Another thing about Zinfandel is the heat (wine speak for alcohol)...
it's up there. Most Zins are comming in at 13.5% - 16.5%. Well integrated
Zins surpisingly don't show the heat as much as one would expect.
Another thing I like about Zin.
Good Zins can cost as little as under $10 and go up from there. A
few of my favorites were: Tres Sabores "Rudy Zuidema"; Renwood
"Jack Rabbit Flat"; Michael-David Vineyards "7 Deadly
An interesting entry came from Meeker Vineyard a late harvest cryogenic
desert style: "FroZin". Cute huh? Keep a look out for when
Zap returns and you too can be a card carrying Zinner.
For information about upcoming wine seminars, classes, tastings
and wine dinners contact me at Winerider@sbcglobal.net