Pin It
favorite

Morsels 

Zap Festival




If wine really is bottled poetry, as Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote,then San Francisco's Fort Mason was worth a bazillion words during the 16th annual Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) Festival held Jan. 24-28.

The gates opened at 1pm on Saturday, Jan. 27, for the grand all-day tasting, and throngs of thirsty wine tasters flooded forward into the Herbst and Festival pavilions like eager souls into Heaven. Up to their necks in wine, they waded from table to table and winery to winery, swirling, sipping and swallowing until their tongues went numb and such back-of-the-bottle prose as "hinting at rose petals," "aromas of vanilla and saffron" and "the perfect match for braised pork loin" could have been hard truth or downright drivel. It was impossible to know. Everyone was intoxicated. The world was spinning.

My tasting mate and I dove into the Festival Pavilion and swam straight to the table of Sharp Cellars (www.sharpcellars.com; 707.933.0556). This Sonoma winery, owned by Vance Sharp III, produces just several thousand cases per year. The wine is not cheap, but the flavor of its 2001 100 percent pure blend Zin ($45 per bottle) is the spiciest, sweetest and most remarkable I have ever tasted. Think really, really excellent vinegar. Sounds bad, but it's great. Plus, it's certified organic.

I slogged forward in search of more eco-friendly wine, and I noticed how visibly nervous the winemakers got when asked if their grapes were organic. Their bodies stiffened and their faces grew dark, as though I had accused them of bottling up poison, which I guess I sort of had.

While ZAP is a celebration of Zinfandel, it's also a celebration of great food. On the evening of Thursday the 25th at Fort Mason, the ZAP Good Eats and Zinfandel Pairing event brought together over 50 wineries and restaurants to produce many mouth-watering, innovative wine-food combos. The featured chefs--mad and brilliant scientists of flavor--grilled up heaps and hills and mountains of meat, meat, meat, meat, meat! They drizzled this seared flesh with Mediterranean delights like fig-pear chutney, pomegranate reduction, rosemary gravy and secret barbecue sauces using--get this!--Zinfandel.

ZAP 2007, with its 270 participating wineries, 600 or so Zins and excess of rich food left me almost speechless for a day afterward. Robert Louis Stevenson probably could have written a charming poem about the wine-sopped week. Or just copied something from the back of a bottle. Nobody would have known.

For info on more ZAP, visit the website at www.zinfandel.org.







SEARCH AVAILABLE RESERVATIONS & BOOK A TABLE


View All


Quick dining snapshots by Bohemian staffers.


Winery news and reviews.


Food-related comings and goings, openings and closings, and other essays for those who love the kitchen and what it produces.


Recipes for food that you can actually make.


  • Zap Festival

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Dining

  • It's Raining Bacon

    Sonoma County Meat Co. stands out in crowded field of pork
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Rites of Spring

    How to hunt and eat asparagus
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Humming Along

    Fairfax's Hummingbird Cafe offers a Taste of New Orleans
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • More »

More by Alastair Bland

  • Morel of the Story

    Mushroom foragers fume over being locked out of national forest
    • May 7, 2014
  • After the Deluge

    The big rains came, but the fish are still dying and the grapes aren't growing
    • Feb 12, 2014
  • Mice Capades

    Potential use of rodenticides on the mice of the Farallon Islands divides environmentalists
    • Jan 8, 2014
  • More »

Find It

Boho Beat

Mar. 28: Big Top in Sebastopol

Mar. 29: Classical Narration in Yountville

Mar. 31: Pizza Party in Santa Rosa

More »

Facebook Activity

Most Commented

Twitter

Read more @nbaybohemian

Copyright © 2015 Metro Newspapers. All rights reserved.

Website powered by Foundation