Mine Eyes Have Been Opened Wide…

Seghesio Family Vineyards
Image of Seghesio Family Vineyards via Snooth

I love Zin.  It’s one of my favorite varietals.  In fact, my epiphany wine was a Lolonis Zinfandel I had about 10 years ago.  Before that, I liked wine and would consume it occasionally.  But after that, I came to love wine.  I can still remember the juicy berry flavor of that wine!

But when it comes to pairing it with food, I don’t perceive it to be as versatile as other wines, such as Pinot Noir, or Syrah, in terms of reds.  I must confess that I mostly consider zinfandel to be a B&B (Burger & BBQ) wine.  That all changed this past weekend when we attended the 2010 Seghesio Chef’s Harvest dubbed a “Cuisines of the World with America’s Wine”

Zinfandel is widely considered to be America’s grape, and thus America’s wine because the world’s oldest zinfandel wines reside in California, and because other popular grapes such as Cab, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling have hundreds of years of history in Old World Europe, while Zinfandel transformed from a little known grape to one planted to 50,000 acres here in America.  There is more Zinfandel planted in California than anywhere else in the world.

The Seghesio event featured 5 renowned Chefs from around the country preparing World Cuisine paired with their Zinfandels to showcase the food pairing versatility of Zinfandel.  All the Zins were produced using Sonoma County fruit from Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley.

Each Chef prepared small plates with three dishes.  Each cuisine was paired a different Zinfandel.  The featured cuisines and dishes are detailed below:

Wine Cuisine
2008 Home Ranch Zinfandel Asian Jumbo Tiger Shrimp Sate with Spicy Peanut Sauce/Grilled Beef in Grape Leaves with Nuoc Cham/Edamame & Corn Salad with Walnut Miso Dressing
2008 Old Vine Zinfandel Persian – Eggplant Crostini with Sun-dried Yogurt and walnuts/Pistachio Meatballs with Harissa-Pomegranate Glaze/Yogurt Marinated Flat Iron Steak with Cucumber Raita
2008 Rockpile Zinfandel Cajun – Duck and Andouille Gumbo/Smoked Cajun Sausage with Pickled Peppers/Louisiana Blackeyed Pea and Rice Salad
2007 Cortina Zinfandel Spanish – Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho/Cordero Al Carbon – Spit roasted young lamb/Seafood Paella of Lobster, Prawns, Clams, and Mussels
2007 San Lorenzo Zinfandel Italian – Northern Halibut, Sweet White Corn & Bulls Horn Peppers/Lamb Polpette with Sheep’s Milk Yogurt & Salsa Rustica/Trio of Sonoma Tomatoes – Crudo, Concentrato, Gelatina

Mission accomplished!  The Zins were paired wonderfully with all the cuisines.  My favorite pairing was the 2008 Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel with Duck and Andouille Gumbo, but I enjoyed all the pairings!  The experience definitely opened my mind to Zin’s possibilities beyond the All-American B&B realm. Learning is always best when it’s fun, since there was a band and plenty of wine, and wine lovers we had a blast!

We currently have more Zinfandel than any other varietal in our modest “cellar”. Now that mine eyes have been opened wide..I don’t know how long that’s going to last!