Thursday, January 23, 2014

SOMMS vs WINEMAKERS Slug it out to Select Best Zin Glass

On a warmer-than-in-summer winter's day here in the Bay area, a group of sommeliers and winemakers were invited to take a line up of 15 Riedel stems and go through a series of eliminations to select the winning glass shape and size for Zinfandel. This was the kick-off event for this year's ZAP, the annual festival celebrating Zinfandel, and was held at Rock Wall Winery in Alameda with owner Kent and Shauna Rosenblum in attendance.

Glassware impresario Georg Riedel kept us in line as we first eliminated 8 glasses (not too hard - the big, fat bowls or those with triangular bottoms pushed out alcohol fumes), and then another 4 - and then finally down to one favorite. With each round, we poured a different Zin so as to further democratize the process. Georg didn't want esoteric palates influencing the selection. He wanted what would work best as a mainstream Zinfandel glass.

Finally, when the results were tabulated, the winning glass was number 14, a smaller Bordeaux shape that accentuated the gorgeous chocolate and berry notes of these luscious Zins but that didn't push out so much heat - Zins were on average hovering around 15% abv. One notable exception was Eric Baugher's Ridge Geyserville at 14.5% which also was a very different animal from the fruity-liscious styles that are so commonplace these days.

Also of great interest was glass number 3, a $3 wholesale "Degustazione" Red which was big-bowled in a hybrid of Bordeaux and Burgundy shapes but quite thin and delicate at this price.

© Copyright 2014 Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, Planet Grape LLC. All Rights Reserved.