ZAPPED Again! Dashe on the Cutting Edge?
January is always a rocking month, both because we’re preparing to bottle wines that have been sitting in barrel for 14 months, and because it’s the month of ZAP—the biggest and most raucous wine-tasting event in the country.
ZAP is like conducting a professional wine tasting during a Grateful Dead concert. It’s a huge meeting of professional journalists, sommeliers, wine retailers, and zinfandel consumers—all trying to taste and talk at the same time. Hundreds of wineries. Thousands of tasters.
Our table, at Dashe, is always swamped. From 10 am to 5 pm, there wasn’t a break. Journalists, consumers, other winemakers, we were packed.
I have a theory why. It’s ironic—I think it’s because our style of winemaking is now (after 17 years) a trendy style.
People WANT wines with less alcohol. They crave more balance. They don’t walk away if you’re pouring a wine that’s elegant and complex. It used to be that if your wine wasn’t jet-black and 16% alcohol, people turned on their heel and walked away. Now, they fight to drink it.
The fact is, zinfandel has a public relations problem. It’s always been the BIG AMERICAN WINE. But that’s changing—fast.
Zinfandel needs to compete—and should compete—on the world stage, with other great varietals from other countries. It needs to taste good on its own, with fruit, acidity, alcohol, and structure all in balance.
Anne and I both come from US and European winemaking backgrounds. From the start, we wanted to make wines that reflect where they are grown and showed some delicacy to boot. We wanted to make wine that people wanted to drink.
I think, after 17 years, we’ve achieved our goal. And people are starting to notice. Thanks, y’all.