One of the reasons I put off visiting was the "Shangri La" nature of how to get there. My friends in Sacramento said it was "20 minutes. 45 minutes. 2 hours" away. My friends from San Francisco said it was "1 hour, 2 hours. 5 hours" away. Turns out, it is an easy hour and 45 minutes from the East bay and a fun drive. I left the gritty flat lands of Oakland, zipped through Contra Costa suburbs and quickly found myself on an implausibly bucolic highway, with covered bridges and dappled shade between stretches of authentic farmland. With more levees and water than mile markers, the road wended me toward the Lodi Wine Commission's Lodi Wine and Visitor Center. There we met our Wine Sherpa, Randy Caparoso, who graciously shepherded us through a great experience in Lodi.
|Parking Lot or Vineyard? Good taste says vineyard
|Parking lot to fork #fresh
Here are some favorites from our lunch:
Sidebar Kerner '14
This German variety is a pale clear gold. Floral aromas and touch of smoke in nose. Amazing fresh mouth feel bracing acidity Lime pith in mid palate and finish
Holman Cellars is a producer in Napa. These Bacchus (bah-KOOS) grapes came from an enchanted glen in Lodi: Mokelumne. We tried Holman's 2015 Uncharted Bacchus. This 100% Bacchus grape based wine was a medium gold and star bright. Lovely acidity that jumped out of the glass and a nice color from oxidation
2014 Nimmo Made by Markus Niggli. This Kerner Gewurtztraminer Riesling Bacchus blend spends time in oak. It gets blended before it is co fermented. An interesting process that develops into a fascinating wine with sage on the nose and a touch of Chinese 5 spice on the palate along with an overall freshness and minerality. Nimmo is an acronym Markus used to find his way home while on an internship in Scandinavia.
2013 Borra Vineyards Heritage is a field blend of 70% Barbera, 10% Carignane, 10% Petite Sirah and 10% Alicante Bouschet. This is a true expression of terroir. Field picked and co-fermented, these grapes produce a wine with warm welcoming primary aromas with deep black spiced fruit underneath. Driven by the barbera acidity, it is earthy and delicious. Yields are low at less than a 1/2 ton an acre, but the results are luscious. #worthit
The name "Heritage" Steve Borra told us, was inspired by his memories of his dad. He described a scene of his dad who always had a dry salami hanging by a barrel in the basement. He would funnel wine from the barrel to bottle and drink deeply of his field blend. The love makes it taste better, I think.
Along the way we would encounter many great stories and a levee full of delicious wine. For Bloggers attending the 2016 Conference in Lodi, you are in for a treat.
Many thanks to the Lodi Wine Commission, Charles Communications and all the producers who hosted me on this wonderful wine adventure