This class put together a lot of information in a short time and combined it with some fun tasting. Plus, it cleared up some misconceptions I had about how far away Lodi is (everyone I know in Sacramento assures me it's more than an hour away---it's really about 35 minutes! I have GOT to go!).
Since Lodi growers get about $500 a ton for their grapes when Napa growers get closer to $4000/ton, this program is working to differentiate Lodi and elevate its profile. In creating a comprehensive set of rules to drive towards sustainable growing, Lodi is putting itself at the forefront of a burgeoning movement to look not just at the environmental issues of sustainability, but also to create a tripod of balance around issues of economic viability and add to it something the 1920's founders of organic did not think of: Social Equity. Lodi's focus on the health of the community as a whole was interesting.
There's a cacophony in the marketplace: Bio dynamic? Organic? Sustainable? To sulfite or not to sulfite? To quell our inherent fear of "chemicals", the presenter pointed out, water is a chemical. In addition to the complicated alchemy of wine creation, guidelines to help navigate issues of how much power is used, quantifying human/social costs, etc are laid out in a handbook to provide Lodi growers with a blueprint for sustainability. As well, they view the topic of sustainability as a continuum to strive for instead of a Utopian end point past diminishing returns. The topics raised were interesting, however, the tasting was what we were all waiting for.
2007 Bokisch Vineyards Albarino: This was a stunning wine with a variety of rich fruity aromas. The notes described them as " Bosc pear, Fuji apple and mandarin rind" which seemed accurate for the melange of fruit. The flavor had a tropical presence with dried pineapple the most pronounced. Medium bodied, it had a lovely mouthfeel holding to the just the brink of
2006 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha: Typical grenache has more of a delicacy of fruit that it contributes to blends or displays on its own, however, you could almost feel the heat of the Lodi sun blasting a rich volcanic clay loam to produce a heavier fruit presence. This wine initially had aromas of geranium and strawberry and then opened up to a nose of red fruit and a slight taste of tar on the mid palate underneath a plethora of berry, fruity tastes without being sweet.
2006 St. Amant Lodi Mohr-Fry Ranches Old Vine Zinfandel: I'm a girl who like her Zins in all their possible incarnations. This wine was a delicious surprise. Immediately opening up to pleasant aromas of vanilla and raspberry, they give credit to the Delta Breeze, that cool marine layer that wafts in from the San Francisco Bay, turning right toward Napa, but also blanketing Lodi with exactly what they need to produce delicious Zins. Slightly grippy, this was a wine that could match with a variety of foods easily. Delightful!
2006 Delicato 337 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was a last minute substitution for something lost in transit. It definitely would have benefited from some more attention. It needed time to open up and breathe. Initially the nose was all vinegar, but at the end of the class after a little more than an hour it had opened up to tasty licorice and Christmas spice. Beautiful dark color, but definitely did not drink like a Napa cab. Still, for such a young wine, it was delightful.
So, we have to go! Visit http://www.lodiwine.com/ to plan your visit. Guess what? The tasting rooms are still free!