We always look forward to the Zinfandel Advocates and Producer (fondly know n as ZAP) annual Zinfandel Festival. The festival has four primary parts:
- A Grand Tasting which, this year, featured more than 500 Zins from more than 200 producers and attracted 8,000 people:
- Flights, which provide winemaker-hosted educational seminars that compare and examine the nature, terroir and processes that give each wine its unique character;
- A Winemakers’ Dinner, a themed evening that begins with a walk-around tasting, proceeds to a multi-course paired dinner and concludes with a live auction, in which the proceeds fund multiple ZAP projects; and the one event that we went to this year;
- Epicuria, which pairs Zins with dishes from Bay Area and wine country restaurants and caterers.
The Flavors of Epicuria
The food and Zin pairings are always one of our favorite events. This year was no exception. Fifty wineries: Fifty restaurants and caterers, with each winery designating one of its favorite Zins to pair with a culinary delight that the chef designs around the wine. Some of the dishes were relatively standard. Swan Oyster Deport, for example, paired cups of bay shrimp with a Peachy Canyon Zin. Cabot Creamery offered a selection of cheddars with Calstar Cellars wine. Some dishes, on the other hand, bordered on exotic:
- Chef Tyler Stone’s Molecular Wine Ice Cream with Frank Family Zin;
- Chef Joey Altman’s Wild Boar Sugo over Creamy Polenta with Bellweather’s San Andreas Sheep’s Milk Cheese with Rosenblum Zin
There with pairing with pizzas, sliders, deserts, chocolates and a number of pasta dishes, some of which were delicious. Among our favorite pairings were:
- Twenty Five Lusk’s Duck Confit Crepe with Organic Watercress, Comte, and Dried Cherry Powder, with Dashe Zin;
- Kinyon! Culinary’s Wild Mushroom Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Hendry Zin;
- Radius’ Duck Liver Mousse with Blackberry Gastrique with Klinker Brick;
- Wine & Roses’ Terrine of Quail and Pork with Porcini and Truffles with McKay Cellars; and
- Il Davide Restaurant’s Black Truffle Porcine filled Agnolotti, White Truffle Fondue with Starry Night.
And then there were the ever-popular Lamb Lollipops with Zinfandel Demi-glace that Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse paired with Bonneau’s Zin. And for those who were so enthralled with the pairings that they wanted to duplicate them at home, some of the chefs provided recipes.
Overall, another Zin-based night to remember. We are already looking forward to ZAP’s Epicuria Circa 2014.