Last week, I gave away two tickets to the Thursday night, January 27, 2011 Good Eats and Zinfandel Pairing event, kicking off the four event, three day Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco, thrown by ZAP, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, each year. The lucky winner was, and is, Nancy Howard Cameron Iannios.

This week, you have a chance to win a pair of tickets to the final event of the Zinfandel Festival, the Grand Tasting on Saturday, January 29, 2011, 2:00-5:00PM at Ft Mason’s Herbst and Festival Pavilions in San Francisco. The pair of tickets is valued at $140.

With around 1,000 Zinfandels being poured, learning to spit instead of drink is highly recommended, and because Zin is a big bold high alcohol content, black pepper spiced fruit bomb of a wine, expect some palate fatigue.

It is best to plan ahead, figure which dozen or two Zinfandels you want to taste, then follow your plan – allowing for an extra taste or two to take advantage of wines receiving positive buzz from the crowd. Taste, spit, cleanse palate with bread, repeat. Stop while still sober. Enjoy.

I decided to focus more on the wines from where I live this year in my writing. Sadly, the only four Mendocino County wineries pouring their Zinfandels, so far, at this year’s Grand Zinfandel Tasting are: Brutocao, Claudia Springs, Edmeades, and McNab Ridge. I hope to find wineries from outside the area pouring wines made from grapes from within the county.

I would love to see more wineries from the county pouring, and bringing along their Coro as well.

This year, ZAP is allowing Zinfandel blends to be poured where the companion grapes are ones found in traditional field blends, and these wines will be called Heritage blends. Coro Mendocino is kind of a Mendocentric Heritage, where a participating winery makes a Zin blend, choosing what they feel are the best grapes for blending from Mendocino County’s vineyards to make the best bottle possible. No two Coro are alike, winery to winery, vintage to vintage, but they are all stellar.

To be in consideration for the pair of tickets to the Grand Zinfandel Tasting, name a Mendocino winery that produced a Coro Zin blend in 2010. Leave your submission as a comment to this post. Contest entry submissions will be accepted through noon California time, this Thursday, Jan 20, 2011. I will randomly pick, and announce, a winner Thursday afternoon or evening.

Good Luck!

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I was contacted by the folks who make sure that Korbel CA Champagne, and Bollinger Champagne, separately but within a day of each other, about running a piece related to bubbly as we get closer to Valentine’s Day.

Thanks to the marketing folks at Brown-Forman and Terlato Wines, that is exactly what will be happening. Owing to my commitment to focus on wines from Mendocino County this year, I hope to include a bubbly from either Roederer Estate in Philo or Rack & Riddle from Hopland too.

Brut Rosé will be my focus for the upcoming piece. I just wanted to give you all a “heads up” so you could start thinking ahead about the perfect romantic beverage for Valentine’s Night.