07 August, 2016

#LoCA for Lodi Must See Recos...

Getting a chance to visit Lodi before the conference was a gift.  This area has many great vineyards producing yummy wines. The people here are dedicated to their work.  From Albariño to Zinfandel, you will find something to love.   There are also great resources to help to tailor your visit to your specific agenda
Click here:

Meanwhile,here are some standouts from my visit to help you get the most of your visit:

Onesta's Jillian  Johnson

The Bechthold Vineyard: Planted in 1886, this vineyard grows wonderful cinsault (sahn-SOH) grapes.  A dark red grape it was known, and largely dismissed as a California variety called Black Malvosie till producers like Boony Doon, Turley, Onesta, Micheal David rediscovered it and began making delicious cinsaut based wines.  We got to meet Jillian Johnson, owner and winemaker of Onesta Wines.  She is one of those scary smart people who somehow makes you feel smarter yourself by talking to her.  Along with David Phillips, of Michael David Wineries, who tempted us with, among other wines,  his Inkblot Tannat, they met us at the vineyard.  We started with a jog though the vineyard and got up to our ankles in sandy loam.  When Jillian first started, the soil looked like sand at the beach. It has been built up . This soil is ideal for Cinsault because it makes the vines struggle the right amount.  Jillian wanted to bring cinsault to the world, so we could all enjoy her realization of a wine with the delicate body of Pinot Noir and the zippiness of a zin.
Lucky Cellar Dogs

2012 Cinsaut had fresh bright aromas of coriander seed and filè and celery on finish.  The allocated 2012 Rosé had mouthwatering acidity and was bone dry and pale coral in color.

David Phillips from Michael David Winery treated us to the 2014 Micheal David Cinsaut which was a pretty and clear medium  ruby color.  Red fruit, strawberry and rhubarb flavors and aromas were present along with integrated vinous notes  and cinnamon stick in the finish. Texture, more than overt tannins and persistent finish with a snap of astringency marked the wine.   Jillian says it's true expression of vineyard . At $24 an amazing deal for small lot historical vineyard
History, family and experience make deilcoous wines
Harney Lane: Under the shade of the Deodora Pine tree is natural air conditioning to enjoy delicious Harney Lane Wines.  While I was familiar with the yummy Lizzie James Zin,  discovering the Albariño and stories of  Cathy Mettler was great.  In 2003, they started making a barrel here and there.  2006 was first year they made their own wines.  And soon Harney Lane was winning gold medals.  Their goal has always been to capture the essence of fruit and show Lodi's sense of place. Cathy loves icy cold wine and Albariño stands up to that.  My favorite was the 2015 Albariño: Very clear bright pale straw color. Intense bright citrus fruit with floral notes of limes in flavors. Knowing how the fruit ferments and what the yeasts will do is something experience brings.  Cathy notices wild swings in fruit characters year to year.  It can be peach one year and pineapple another, so vintage impact is big even with all other factors being exactly the same. Delicious wines and a great story await you in this beautiful tasting room.  Look for the historical touches in decor, like an old Chardonnay vine and the handcart originally used by the family progenitors.  Restoration Hardware eat your heart out!
Award winning Oak Farms Wines

Oak Farm Vineyards: A gorgeous spot to taste wine.  This elegant space boasts delicious wines. 2014 Verdelho had aromas of lime blossom and almond with a touch of mandarin orange in the flavors.They pick at lower brix to get bright acidity.  It was an amazing salad wine.  2015 Albariño had a nice note of salinity and a silky texture.  They attribute that to gentle press and very cold fermentation , <60 degrees,  taking care to stay anaerobic during several months of pressure. They use this hands-off/ sous vide method to  breakdown the yeast so the finished wine maintains silkiness in texture.  2015 Grenache: Unfiltered with a light and pure character of grenache 2013 Barbera was elegant with fruit forward notes of  blackberry jam.  Snappy acidity with laser focus on fruit, the wine has a touch of spice in its fruit driven finish. These lovely wines  are super food friendly and versatile.  Oak Farms broke the rules and offered us their Zinfandel: InDIGenoUs from the Cementary vineyard.  The wine was juicy bright with lots of red fruit and orange juice in finish.  I liked the  lively acidity and what Randy says expressed the very deep fruit acidity characteristic of east side. This example of post Lodi Native project showcases producers who have embraced the spirit of the program and are revealing the character of the land via expression of wine

Pét Nat: Who would have thunk?
Fields Family Wine:  Our Facebook friend Ryan Sherman took us way the other side of the expected with a pétillant Naturel wine as well as the Fields Family wines.

Yummy and unexpected.

That phrase that describes my trip to Lodi.  Although ironically, our whirlwind  "Anything but Zin¨ trip left me craving Zinfandel.  And more Lodi wine.

Bokisch brings a Spanish flair Viva Lodi-berico
There is so much to see, learn and experience, that I left off three of my must revisit topics:

McCay Cellars, who produce a Grenache so enchanting I leave extra time when I pass through to pick up more.

Bokisch Vineyards who now have a spiffy new tasting room and the same high quality Lodi-berico  delights we have followed for years.

Also Mokelumne Glen  a vineyard with more than 47 hard to pronounce but easy to drink German grape varieties and a family passion for farming that embodies the best of Lodi.

Some people are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, I am now fully LoCA for Lodi!

Many thanks to Randy Caparoso who is the ultimate ambassador of Lodi, Lodi Wine Commission and Charles Communication for hosting me on my voyage of discovery.  I cannot wait to return again! See you at #WBC16

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