Cheers to Nat’l #ZinDay W Nov 19!

Just in time for Thanksgiving and other holiday feasts, it’s National Zinfandel Day on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. 2015.

If you’re looking for a red wine to serve at your Thanksgiving or other holiday event, look no further than Zinfandel. It pairs well with turkey, ham, prime rib, and lamb, AND it can handle all those crazy sides that we tend to pile on our plates. It’s also a red wine that pleases many palates.

If you’re in the San Luis Obispo area, you might drop by the tasting room and give Sextant a swirl. Out of all the wines I tasted last week at the Wine Tourism Conference (probably 100 or so from the Paso region and beyond –more on WTC14 soon!), I think this Zinfandel is the winner for holiday meals with family and friends because it is accessible, pleasing, rich, and more– just right for friends and family who don’t drink wine too often.

National Zinfandel Day MAST

Open a bottle of Zinfandel and join us as we recognize the pioneers of America’s heritage grape and enjoy a glass of this distinctive, food-friendly varietal. Sharing photos and thoughts about the Zinfandel via Twitter and other social media using #ZinDay.

Held on the third Wednesday of November, the fourth annual Zinfandel Day features events at wineries, wine bars and restaurants including special tastings and menu pairings at restaurants and wineries across the United States including Park Hyatt Aviara’s Vivace in San Diego, Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, NM and Charlie Palmer’s Steak in Washington, D.C. and MoniClaire Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Sbragia Family Vineyards and Terra D’Oro Winery. For more information on the events plus tips, videos and Zin-centric party ideas, visit

IMG_2543For #ZINDAY or holiday meals, consider these Zinfandels from Sonoma’s Dry Creek. You can find great zins for as low as $12 like Rodney Strong‘s Knotty Vines or St Francis Old Vine at under $20 or splurge on a bottle from the masters at Ridge, Eberle, Biale (below), Bianchi or even Glaymond in AUS; you will likely to find them more complex.

Read more about red wine pairs with ham.

Read more about wine pairs with holiday fares.

Read more about red wine and turkey.

Find Zinfandel near you at 1000 Corks.

Here are some notes on two to give you an idea about some of the characteristics of zinfandel–and how widely they can vary!

Biale – Robert Vineyard – Old Crane Ranch – Napa Valley Zinfandel – 2003

Wonderful on the nose. Spicy fruit, rich and heavenly, Jammy and delightful. Big, bold flavor explosion. Just want to drink it. Very youthful, surprising for an 03. Still has good structure. Vibrant.  Brambly fruit.  Lingering fruit.  Fruit lingers on your tongue with a berry finish. Nice oak on the nose.  Goes down too easy, it is a dangerous wine.  Meaty and balanced. Mature Zinfandel – not a fruit bomb. Meaty like a Mourvedre almost.  Blueberry  blackberry.

Cantara – Mohr-Fry Ranch — Lodi – Old Vine Zinfandel – 2010

While much younger, this zinfandel shows promise. A bit hot on the tongue.  Good, but young. Can see that this is going to be nice if given time.  Rich spice brambly fruit. Nice finish. Really good balance. Great with pasta and red sauce with meatballs. Dense, rich, vivid, Great food wine.

lodizincatFor good reason, Lodi is an area that is getting more and more attention; last year for Zinfandel Day, we went to Cantara where we tasted through several of their wines as well as others from Lodi; I even bought a Lodi Old Vine Zin from St Amant for my Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Read more on twitter by searching #LodiWine. This year I wanted Cantara’s but they have sold out already!

If you’re a West Coast Zin-fanatic, definitely calendar “The Zinfandel Experience” — the largest single varietal tasting of its kind!  The 24th Annual Zinfandel Experience will be held January 29-31, 2015 at The Presidio in San Francisco and the Four Seasons hotel. For tickets and information:

What’s your favorite Zinfandel? How will YOU be celebrating #ZinDay?

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