The ZAP festival was quite a challenge the first time Liz and I went. In typical fashion, we arrived late and unprepared for tasting – no food in our stomachs and only an hour to tackle HUNDREDS of zinfandels from across California. It was 1999 and our quest for our wine-soaked wedding location was coming to an end – during which we came to a great appreciation for northern california wines, specifically the Zinfandel. Needless to say we were excited to have so many of them in one place at one time to sample…and the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, in San Francisco, was a fantastic setting. We started up the first row with all intentions of hitting as many tables as possible, but got stuck at the Peachy Canyon table near the front. WOW! Holy Crap! Peaches! came blaring from our burgundy-stained mouths. This was top-notch Zin from a producer we hadn’t heard much about – out of the nether regions of the Central Coast. It became one of our most beloved wines. We grabbed bottles everywhere we found them. We took a trip to Paso Robles with Peachy Canyon as our flagship destination – and it didn’t disappoint. I think at the time they were only producing Zins…big juicy jammy Zins, but with a flair all their own. I beg of you to find me a collection of wines that had more unique character from this time and place. I even remember finding a dusty bin of Bin 119 in a random wine store on 6th ave after we moved to NYC. I bought the lot of them. Delicious.
You can see why we were so happy to make it back to the winery once again with Liz’s parents around thanksgiving of 2006. But this time it was different. Zins weren’t the only thing on the roster…they had broadened their offerings to include Cab, Cab Franc, Petite Sirah, and others. The Zins which we fell in lust with had seemed to lost their ‘peachiness’. Whether or not that quality about the wine was all psychological / power of suggestion didn’t matter – it did taste like peaches. Still good though, we bought one of their favorites – the westside.
I opened it with high hopes the other night – only to find a cloying sweet goo of a mess. I felt a rush of sadness wave over me. Was it the winery and their wines which had changed so much, or have I? Has my palate ‘matured’ to the point where big fruit wines all remind me of Yellow Tail? I dumped it down the drain before Liz came back from choir and tasted it. I didn’t want her to lose that peachy feeling.