Zesty Zin: Wine Weekend in Paso Robles

It's one of spring's springiest sips; try what's growing around the Central Coast region.

AMONG ALL WINES, zinfandel can be the most chameleonic, at least at first glance. What's its hue, for one? A cabernet sauvignon is fairly well-placed on the maroon/burgundy side of the color wheel, and chardonnay falls on the butter/lemon end of things. The grand Z, however, can lean to peach in tone, or something far richer and blackberry-esque, depending. Fans would say that the wine's ability to cover a lot of ground, rather than remain in a single corner, also applies to how it tastes. Is it zesty and zippy? It is, and thank goodness, since both of those z-starting words are often applied to the libation. Can it stand up to a strong winter stew, one that's rife with steak and potatoes, or can it lightly accompany a picnic on a toasty summer's afternoon? Yes and yes. Zin, in short, is that red wine that can play a lot of different roles, so it makes sense that it receives its own weekend-long party if a few wine-centered regions of the state. Paso Robles throws a spring-sweet one, right in the middle of March, to pay tribute to "the first variety planted in Paso," one that's been growing there since the 19th century. The 2016 dates for Vintage Paso: Zinfandel Weekend are...

FRIDAY, MARCH 18 THROUGH SUNDAY, MARCH 20... and the Central Coast soiree has events and special happenings to fill the schedule as well as zin fills a glass. There's a walk-around tasting on the opening night, one that brings in a dessert-y element (as well as 16 regional winemakers). There's a showing of "SOMM: Into the Bottle," if you want to get to know this admirable wine pro profession (one that's often cited as a dream job for many an enthusiast). And several wineries will pull out the library vinos, and put out the fancy bites, and stage some special entertainment, all to welcome zin-ists to the area. Best book your stay soon, and plan your rides around the region, should you want to spend a day or two connecting with zin, that pairs-well-with-almost-everything libation. Springtime? Fall? Solid eats? A light app? It matters not to this personality-packed red, a wine that is truly made for all season and all sorts of supping, too.

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