Yesterday, I wrote about the three day, four event Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco January 27-29, 2011 put on by ZAP, Zinfandel Advocates & Producers.


ZAP has made a pair of tickets available for me to offer to you for two of the events. First, we will be offering one pair of $140 tickets (prize value: $280) to Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing at Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco Thursday, January 27, 2011 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

One winner will receive the pair of tickets. Getting to the event is on you, but for my many readers who live in northern California, that shouldn’t present any difficulty.

I wrote yesterday about tasting Carol Shelton’s acclaimed Karma Zin and Black Magic Zin paired with Smoked Elk Loin with Raspberry Compote on a Manchego Cheese Crisp AND Espresso BBQ pulled Pork with Raspberry Salsa and Point Reyes Blue Cheese on Focaccia Crostini prepared by the chefs from Nectar Wine Lounge and Restaurant; and imagining at least 49 additional delicious wine and food pairings, each intended to showcase how well Zinfandel works in the kitchen, all at ZAP’s Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing event.

I mention Carol Shelton often. I sold her wines for years and developed a “house palate,” I am predisposed to like what she makes; but liking, or loving, Carol’s wines is easy. Carol was the top award winning winemaker in the nation over a dozen years, and she is recognized as one of the nation’s best Zinfandel winemakers.

Carol Shelton recently wrote about the ZAP Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing, “This is the BEST ZAP event—less crowds, best wines and yummy foods to try, and music to boot!”

I think each of the four events of the Zinfandel Festival are perfect, each different, but each exactly as it should be. Easily, however, the most enjoyable of the events is Thursday night’s Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing.

50 wineries will be pouring Zinfandel, and 50 restaurants will be providing food created to pair with Zinfandel; Chocolate, mushroom, cheese, pork shoulder, pork belly, house made bacon, spicy beeftacos, al Pastor tacos, and lamb will be featured in some of this year’s dishes.

ZAP has provided the recipe from one of my favorite dishes from last year, Ruth’s Chris Lamb Lollipops drizzled with a Zinfandel Brown Sauce:


1 rack Domestic Lamb (yields 7-8 lollipops)

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

Generously season lamb rack with salt & pepper. Sear both sides of rack on a hot cast iron griddle or skillet for 2-3 minutes per side. Then place in 350 degree pre- heated oven for approximately 12 minutes for Medium Rare (internal temp of 125). Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Then slice between the bones to create individual lollipops. Arrange on serving platter and generously drizzle with Zinfandel Brown Sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme.


Yield: 1 cup

1/2 oz. Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Onion, finely diced

1 Teaspoon Chopped Fresh Garlic

1/2 Teaspoon Whole Black Peppercorns

1 Sprig Fresh Thyme

1/2 Cup of Your Favorite Zinfandel

1 Cup Veal Demi Glaze (available at Whole Foods and other specialty food stores)

Place saucepan on medium/high heat. Add oil to heat, then add chopped onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Then add black peppercorns, fresh thyme, and zinfandel. Cook until wine is reduced by 1/2. Add Demi glace and heat just until it is melted. Remove from heat, strain through cheese cloth. Keep warm until needed.

I hope your appetite has been whetted, and your creative juices are flowing, because here is what you need to do to win the pair of tickets: visit the ZAP page dedicated to the Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing event, take a look at the list of wineries that will be pouring their Zinfandels, but take your time as you take in the foods being prepared for the event, and follow the link to look at recipes for five of the dishes being served.

Now it is your turn, clicking “Leave a Comment” at the top of this post, leave a recipe for a delicious dish that will pair well with Zinfandel. Recipe entries will be accepted through noon here in California on next Tuesday, January 11, 2011. You have one week to enter the contest. The recipe can be inspired by something you have previously seen or tasted, but the recipe must be original to you – recipes from your grandmother are acceptable, even recommended, JohnOnWine loves grandma’s cooking. I will look at the entries, and privately assign each a score from 1 to 10, based on how well I think it would pair with Zinfandel, and how inspired I am to make it myself. A bonus point will be awarded if you send a picture by email to, so the highest score I will give an entry is 11 points.

I will not be posting scores, so don’t be shy about entering your recipe; but I will post the winner’s recipe next Wednesday, January 12, 2011, and the lucky winner will win the two Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing tickets.

Tickets need not be won, they are also available for purchase, and this is a very worthwhile event to attend if you are able.