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Drinking (and Eating) My Way Through ZAP

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend one of my favorite events of the year: the Zinfandel Advocate and Producers (or ZAP) annual festival. On Thursday night I participated in a walk-around food and wine tasting. A bunch of wineries pair up with local restaurants and caterers who create a small dish to pair with the wine. Attending this sort of event is a great way to learn about pairing food and wine because you can really taste which pairings work well and which don't work so well. Saturday was the grand walk-around tasting with hundreds of wineries pouring Zin barrel samples, new releases, and premium wine. I snapped a bunch of pictures that better illustrate my experience.

The theme for this year's festival, the 19th annual, was Zin in Paradise.

This miniature taco was a one-bite taste sensation. It had a crunchy bottom, juicy pork topping, and crisp coleslaw garnish.

Scott Harvey's 2006 Old Vine Reserve Zinfandel was my favorite wine of the event.

Short ribs on creamy polenta with pickled fennel. Only one word to describe it: yum!

Guy Fieri's restaurant Johnny Garlic's offered this tuna tartar. I was a little skeptical about the pairing of tuna and Zin, but thanks to the tangy, rich sauce, it was wonderful.

To see what was my favorite pairing and pour, check out the images after the break.

The theme for this year's festival, the 19th annual, was Zin in Paradise.

This miniature taco was a one-bite taste sensation. It had a crunchy bottom, juicy pork topping, and crisp coleslaw garnish.

Scott Harvey's 2006 Old Vine Reserve Zinfandel was my favorite wine of the event.

Short ribs on creamy polenta with pickled fennel. Only one word to describe it: yum!

Guy Fieri's restaurant Johnny Garlic's offered this tuna tartar. I was a little skeptical about the pairing of tuna and Zin, but thanks to the tangy, rich sauce, it was wonderful.

A bacon sandwich on an asiago cheese puff was so good, I had two!

The best pairing of the night involved this amazing wild boar slider. It was juicy and downright delicious.

The boar slider was paired with Artezin. The meaty boar was a perfect match for this luscious Zin. It was like a party in my mouth.

This beef tartare crostini was excellent and was part of my second favorite pairing of the night.

The crostini paired with Ridge Geyserville Zin.

The wine was poured by one of the wine makers! He was very helpful and knowledgeable.

This pork belly sandwich was bomb.com!

The guys at Murphy-Goode were kind enough to give me and my best friend Viking hats. We wore them for the rest of the tasting.

Dogwood Cellars' handsome pourer and smooth, rich mouth feel made me love this wine.

Dono dal Cielo means gift from heaven, and this Zin was just that. It was like drinking liquid rubies.

The event is held at Fort Mason on the San Francisco Bay. The view is of Alcatraz.

There were huge displays of cheese and bread. After sampling all the cheese, I decided this creamy blue was the best.

Another delightful taste came from Pilgrim Vineyard.

Trinitas affordable Zin is worth seeking out and tasting.

For Saturday's festivities, I knew things could get a little crazy. Since I was worried people might spill wine on me, I took a tip from FabSugar and wore all black.

Cheers to ZAP!
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