Tasting Report: 2011 Good Eats Zinfandel & Food Pairing

Rarely is a bottle of wine consumed on its own, and the folks at ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) know this. A smaller part of the monumental ZAP event is this annual shindig, an event that pairs every winery exhibiting with an area restaurant, the idea being to show off how well Zinfandel wines go with food.

If you like meat, you’ll love the Good Eats pairing event. Each of these California Zins was paired with something delectable, and most of it was formerly alive. Lots of braised beef, thick BBQ-like sauces, and caramelized vegetables. Some chocolate hear and there. Maybe one salad among the few dozen chefs and restaurants.

The food was generally quite good — my favorite being Ruth Chris’s lamb lollipops — but the wines were all over the map. One standout: Both wines from Ridge Vineyards were exceptional, perfect examples of how Zin can be restrained and balanced, rather than overwhelming and gut-punching like so many of these wines tend to be. Find the guilty and the innocent below in my limited tasting notes.

Tasting Report: 2011 Good Eats Zinfandel & Food Pairing

2006 Ballentine Vineyards Block 11 Napa Valley Zinfandel / B+ / cola notes

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma Valley / B+

2007 Brutocao Family Vineyards Hopland Ranches Estate Zinfandel Mendocino Reserve / A- / chocolate infused

2008 Calcareous Vineyard Zinfandel Paso Robles / A-

2008 Calcareous Vineyard Zinfandel Twisted Sisters / B+ jammy

2008 Deep Purple Winery Zinfandel Lodi / B-

2007 Edmeades Zinfandel Ciapusci Vineyard Mendocino Ridge / B

2007 Grgich Hills Napa Valley Zinfandel / B+

2008 Four Vines Zinfandel Martinelli Vineyard Paso Robles / B+ / very rich

2008 J. Rickards Old Vine Zinfandel Brignoli Vineyard Alexander Valley / B

2008 Klinker Brick Old Ghose Vine Zinfandel Lodi / C+ / burned cocoa notes

2008 Kokomo Winery Timber Crest Vineyard Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley / C+

2008 m2 Wines Old Vine Zinfandel Soucie Vineyard Lodi / B

2009 Macchia Winery Zinfandel Adventurous Linsteadt Vineyard Amador County / B-

2008 Mazzocco Smith Orchard Zinfandel / A-

2008 Mazzocco Briar Zinfandel / B

2008 Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Sonoma County Zinfandel / C+

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley / A- / acidity at last

2008 Ridge Geyserville Zinfandel Sonoma County / A-

2005 Rosenblum Maggies Reserve Zinfandel / B

2003 Rosenblum Monte Rosso Reserver Zinfandel / B-

2009 Saddleback Old Vine Zinfandel (barrel sample) / B+

2006 Carol Shelton Wines Wild Think Zinfandel Mendocino County / B

2007 Storybrook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel Napa Valley / C+

2008 Three Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel Contra Costa County / B- / massive fruit bomb

2008 Wilson Tori Zinfandel Dry Creeek Valley / B+ / good balance

2008 Wilson Carl’s Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley / B- / huge

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