Thursday, February 23, 2017

Who's Organic at the ZinEx Grand Tasting Saturday?

The annual event for Zinfandel lovers - Zinfandel Experience - kicks off this weekend in San Francisco. The biggest event - the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon - will take place at the modern, waterside Pier 27 (cruise terminal venue, on the Embarcadero at Sansome. 

The Grand Tasting on Saturday features 130 vintners pouring more than 500 wines. 

A farm to table dinner takes place tonight at One Market, followed by seminars and winemaker dinners on Friday. 

Wineries pouring at the Grand Tasting who have organically grown wines (almost all of which have scores above 90 points - in some cases 95 pt. scores from the likes of Robert Parker) include: 

1. Producers who make 100% Organically Grown Wines 


• Grgich Hills - Croatian born Mike Grgich played the key role in tracing Zinfandel back to its Croatian origins. His family continues to make Zinfandel in Napa Valley from both new and old vines dating back nearly 100 years ago.

• Storybook Mountain
A Napa classic and one of the founders of ZAP, this northern Napa Valley winery's hillside estate on red volcanic soils perennially makes some of the best Zin in the state and was among the first to treat it as a fine wine.

2. Producers with Selected Organically Grown Wines 


• Carol Shelton
Carol Shelton's Monga Zin is a national treasure.

Of all the old vine Zin vineyards in the great state of California, this one is the heart-stealingest of them all, if you ask me. From 18 inch vines, dry farmed, in sand at the foot of a mountain range east of LA separating Riverside County from the Central Valley above, this vineyard is overseen by the Galleano family, the most authentic living representatives of the region's Zinfandel heritage. Not to be missed.


• Dashe Cellars  
Enfant Terrible Zins from Heart Arrow and McFadden Vineyards are both fine examples of Zins from the lighter side of the spectrum, emphasizing food friendliness.

Julie Johnson of Tres Sabores with her
2013 Zin vintage


• Tres Sabores
Dry farmed, old vine estate Zin from one of the first organic estates in Napa and is located on the Rutherford bench. Julie Johnson does wonders in living among and preserving one of the last old vine, dry farmed Zin vineyards in this precious valley, where so many vineyards have been converted to Cabernet.



• Quivira

Acclaimed for its estate grown Zinfandel, a third of its estate is certified organic and Biodynamic. The wines from these vines include its Elusive Zin (bottle labeled Made with Organic Grapes), a Dry Creek beauty.

Mike Bairdsmith, asst. winemaker at Ridge
(Lytton Springs) with the 2015 - the 50th vintage -
 of the winery's historic Geyserville Zin

• Ridge Vineyards

One of three classic California Zin producers (the others being Turley and Ravenswood/Bedrock) who fell in love with the old vines (ahead of the curve), Ridge has converted most of its 200 acres in Sonoma to organic certification. It's Geyserville and East Bench show off the best of the old (Geyserville is unlikely to be poured at a public event since it's a very limited production wine) and new. The Geyserville vines are from the 1880s. East Bench comes from younger plantings at the winery's Dry Creek estate.

Jake Bilbro at the Zinex trade tasting Friday

• Limerick Lane

Run by Jake Bilbro, this Russian River Valley estate boasts vines that are from as early as 1910. It's in year 3 of three year transition to organic certification. Estate wines only are organically farmed. Russian River Valley Zin is a little bit cooler climate compared to other Sonoma Zins.


• Jeff Cohn 
A Zin fanatic, Cohn's best Zin is from the certified Biodynamic Cassata Vineyard. He makes two from this Sonoma Valley site, nestled in a high bowl above the old Pagani vineyard.

Steve Milliaire, winemaker at the Zinex trade
tasting Thursday

• Milliare Winery 
A few bottles left from 2012, when the acclaimed Clockspring Vineyard was still organic. (It's been sold since.) Made by Steve Milliare, a pro who's been the winemaker at nearby giant Ironstone Winery for decades. A classic Amador County Zin that has been a treasure (Double Golds for years). Get it before it's all gone.


• Turley
Another of the producers to fall in love with old vine Zin early on, the Turley family has certified its organic farming on the estate vineyards it controls: Cedarman, Dragon, Fredericks Vineyard, Pesenti Vineyard, Rattlesnake Ridge, Turley Estate, Ueberroth Vineyard, and Vineyard 101. One of the premiere producers of fine Zinfandels in the world.


For event and ticket info, click here.

Again, why look for these producers? The vines they grow aren't pummeled with Roundup and glyphosate or dangerous fungicides (that kills bees and birds). Their workers aren't subjected to those chemicals and neither are these vineyards' neighbors and children. Consumers who drink these wines avoid chemical residues. And these wines are great! These producers go the extra step to take care of soil and them!

No comments:

Post a Comment