Blind Leading the Blind: Zinfandel 101

“Forgive me, for I have zinned…”

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Zinfandel is a funny grape. To some, the black sheep of the wine world. To others, the holy grail. This past Sunday, a group of thirsty oenophiles (including myself) were invited to a blind tasting at Leslie Thomas’s abode. My favorite “Wine Consumption Specialist,” Thomas is a well-known industry leader (and “Accidental Chef”). The events are a great way to spend a Sunday. Like studying…but a lot more fun.

On the menu for this tasting were over 16 bottles of Zinfandel, spanning notable areas from Paso Robles to Mendocino and beyond. This year marked the 15th edition of the blind tasting. Starting our palette with a Jaffurs 2015 Viognier, oenophiles young and old congregated around the beautiful food, eagerly waiting the commencement of the blind tasting. New friends were made (two legged and four legged).

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Drink Up!

Like a school bell, the clinking of glasses marked the start of the tasting. Note card in hand, each guest sipped, swirled, and scribbled down their favorite varieties. Playful arguments abounded amongst winemakers, sommeliers, and industry notables.

The surprising wild child favorite was The 2013 Visionary Zinfandel from Federalist Wines, hailing from Lodi. The winery cites their wine as “revolutionary wine…a wine with principle.” Big and bold like George Washington himself, the wine offers robust fruit with a bright berry character. Other top favorites included the 2013 Rusack Estate Zinfandel and the 2014 Opolo Mountain Zinfandel.

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2013 Visionary Zinfandel, Federalist Wines in Lodi

The 4pm hour summoned desserts, from famous “Heavenly” brownies to fresh cookies and homemade pie. Apple pie…really amazing apple pie. To accompany the desserts was a lovely selection of Ports, with the true crowd pleaser going to the Sculpterra Primitivo Dessert Wine. With aromas of ripe fig and caramel, the bouquet has a sweet and balanced finish.

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Until the next wine o’ clock…Thanks Leslie! It is always a pleasure to ZIN with you!

Taste. Trek. Travel.

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