I was warned by many about the zoo that is the Grand Tasting of the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers zinfandel festival. I don’t have much trouble getting trade credentials on the east coast, but with an event this size and my relative anonymity on the west coast I was happy to receive an invitation from Wine 2.0 to attend as blogger/press.
I was amused by the mounds of baguettes that greets you at the front door. I suppose “grab your own loaf” is a lot easier than volunteers unwrapping thousands of boxes of crackers! However, I realized that the height of the stacks was only foreshadowing what I was warned as one of the rowdiest consumer wine events.
I made a couple of passes during the trade hour and unfortunately this tasting only confirmed that I still have issues with high alcohol fruit bombs. Of course, zinfandel isn’t exactly known for being delicate but finding ones with subtlety is a challenge! By the time I thought I found one, I had palate fatigue and was no longer sure of what I was tasting.
When the throngs of consumers arrived, I retreated upstairs to the press lounge to discover a “pour your own” row of tables all layed out by region. If I’d realized that was an option, I would have sped through a self-tasting and then made my way down stairs to talk to the producers with whom I really liked instead of putting up with many, many pitches.
I did enjoy the opportunity to slow down and taste and try to really think about regional differences in zinfandel, I’m just not really sure it convinced me to buy more of it in the future.