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Zinfest 2010 @ Castoro Cellars


This past weekend Castoro celebrated yet another Zinfandel Festival and we couldn’t have asked for more amazing weather at this year’s event.  Both Saturday and Sunday were beautiful sun filled days with minimal wind and cloud cover.  As usual there was live music both days and a wide array of vendors and food.  To be honest, the turnout was not what it has been in years past and that seems to be the trend with most things these days.  Even with lower turnouts it never ceases to amaze me that Castoro can be such a magical place to spend a weekend.  The people who did make it out were all enjoying the wonderful weather, wines, music and food and that is what makes all of it worth it.  A lot of the vendors who attend the event have been coming to Castoro events for many years and although they too are experiencing less traffic and sales they remain positive and enjoy the opportunity to do what they love in such a beautiful setting.  Overall, everyone came out ahead and those of us who spent our weekend at Castoro were truly “living the life.”

For anyone who has never been to Zin-Fest, or any other festival at Castoro for that matter, let me paint a picture for you.  As you arrive and walk up the arbor you are most likely going to be greeted by Niels’ mother Barbara who will provide you with a glass for tasting and a wise comment if you are lucky.  She doesn’t get out much anymore but for one reason or another she loves coming out for the festivals at Castoro and greeting guests as they arrive.  Once you pass by Barbara you will most likely notice live music on the outdoor stage and, what many people consider the highlight, barrel tasting!  At this year’s event Mikel Olsten, the assistant winemaker, was pouring wine to taste from two separate barrels.  One barrel contained a 2008 Primitivo that is within weeks of being bottled and the other barrel contained 2009 Primitivo that has only been in the barrel for a matter of months.  I can’t tell you how fascinating it was to try the two wines and really get a feel for what happens over time in the barrel.  The 2009 Primitivo was very fruit forward and almost tasted more like an alcoholic grape juice than a wine and the 2008 Primitivo was very pleasant and definitely tasted like it was approaching bottle time.  For the average person who hasn’t spent a portion of their life working at a winery, it can be a very fun experience to taste wine at different stages of the winemaking process and for those people who would rather just drink the final product, the tasting room was pouring all the usual Castoro wines along with a special collection of library Zinfandels.

Let’s not forget about the food now!! After having a taste or two there is really nothing better than grabbing a handmade crepe from la Moine Creperie, who has had a booth at Castoro Zinfest as long as I can remember.  The crepes are truly a treat, and as authentic as can be.  For those looking for a more savory option there are amazing BBQ sandwiches and salads available as well, served with Castoro mustards and a whole lot of other delicious spreads.

Events at Castoro Cellars are always a lot of fun and almost always feature live music and amazing food.  If you weren’t able to make it to this one, check up on our website for events to come.  There is sure to be something of interest to you.

Til next time,