Saturday, August 4, 2018

Italian Grapes in Lodi with Harney Lane's Primitivo

I'm obviously a huge fan of Italian wines, but I love finding Italian grapes grown outside Italy to experience the difference of the grapes being grown on non-Italian soil. This month our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is doing just that in sharing wineries around the world producing wines from Italian grapes.  

We've talked about primitivo here in the past and it's a grape that you'll typically find in Puglia, but today I found one out in Lodi, CA from the Harney Lane Winery.  I was introduced to the Harney Lane Winery awhile back when I tried their 2012 Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel.  Harney Lane and the family have been harvesting grapes for 5 generations.  The winemaking there is carefully tended to with everything done by hand.

Harney Lane Winery Lodi, CA
I connected with owner, Jorja Lerner, to get a better understanding regarding their Primitivo Lot wines. Jorja actually held a career as a physical therapist for 15 years, but growing up having respect for farming she got her calling back to the family winery and today runs the tasting room and operations. 

Can you give me your history in the wine industry and what got you started with Harney Lane?
For 5 generations my family has grown wine grapes on the Harney Lane property.  In the early 2000's my husband and I started discussing the thought of a winery as well as other options as a way to add value to the family farm to ensure it was financially viable for generations to come.  Our region has long been the backbone of the California wine industry, but at that point few families had developed their own label.  In 2006, we made our first vintage of wine, jumping to the vintner side of the busienss and we never regretted the decision.  It is more work than we ever imagined but also more rewarding. While it has added value to our business it has also been a beneficial learning tool for our farming practices and gratifying to share our final estate product directly with the consumer.

What attracted Harney Lane to producing primitivo in particular out of all the Italian native grapes?  Were other Italian grapes considered?
Primitivo really comes also as a circumstance of our farming history.  We had already been growing this variety for another large winery.  As a grower, it is more elongated and slightly earlier ripening than many zinfandel clones.  As a grower it made sense to reduce some of the struggles growing zinfandel.  Early in our winemaking, we quickly discovered that primitivo produces beautiful, elegant dark cherry notes that are distinct.  It completely made sense to share this with our consumers as another offering in our lineup.

Harney Lane Primitivo LotThe Harney Lane Primitivo Lot is a club exclusive wine so I was lucky to receive a sample.  They blend 3 vintages producing a wine that full bodied, robust and in jammy berries and vanilla with a hint of spice.  ABV 15.5% SRP $40.

Food pairing
Harney Lane recommends the following to pair with this wine: spicy food, thair curry, chicken marsala, sweet baby back ribs, autumn beef stew and cioppino.

Join us this Saturday August 4th at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT and chat about Italian grapes from around the world.  Next month on Saturday September 1st we will be featuring Fall Reds.


*Wine provided as a sample and pictures copyright of Harney Lane Winery

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