I’ll be making my yearly pilgrimage to the Zinfandel Advocate & Producers ZAP tasting on Jan. 28th and to gear up, I’m doing some pre-ZAP tastings. I like to work up a wine grid in advance of the tasting – one that will be published in next Wednesday’s Press Democrat –- to highlight some rock star zins.

In the tastings, I’m finding some snappy, back-talking zins, as well as some soft-spoken, gallant ones. It all makes for great sipping so I encourage zin-lovers to go to the grand tasting on Jan. 28th. (Details below.)

Some great producers include:

Ridge

Robert Biale Vineyards

Carol Shelton

Kokomo

Four Vines

Deloach

Seghesio

Saxon Brown

Cline cellars

The Grand Tasting for the public is from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Concourse at 8th and Brannan in San Francisco. , and there will be hundreds of barrel sample and new releases. Tickets are $59 and $69 at the door. For more information, visit www.zinfandel.org.