Friday, May 17, 2019

It's All About Variety in the Land of the Lodi Wine Region

I’ve had the luxury of trying wines from Lodi over the last few years and one word comes to mind and that is diversity.  Lodi had always been mostly been known for its zinfindel, but times have changed and new wineries are popping up with new winemakers that are experimenting with grapes from all around the world.  In the wines I’m sharing today are some Italian varietals including vermentino and aglianico along with some other great wines. 

I was part of an online virtual tasting on the wines of Lodi that can be viewed for your own enjoyment.  It was conducted by Snooth and leading the tasting was author, speaker and TV host, Leslie Sbrocco.  She was joined by Stuart Spencer, Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission as well as owner and winemaker of St. Amant Winery.  Also as part of the panel was Adam Mettler, named Winemaker of the Year in 2016 by the Wine Enthusiast Magazine.  He is Lead Winemaker at Michael David Winery featured today as well as Winemaker at Mettler Family Vineyards also featured today. 

Where exactly is Lodi?  It’s located between San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  This is an area that has more of a Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool nights.  The area is cooled off by the San Joaquin and Sacramento River Delta.  
Lodi AVAs wine region
Lodi Wine AVA's ~ Copyright of the Lodi Wine Commission

The excitement of trying such a vast array of grapes was best described by Leslie, ”it’s like taking a trip around the world in our glass”.  The Lodi wine region features grapes found in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, France and beyond.  It’s mostly a red wine region with about 2/3 of its acreage planted to red grapes.  This region has experienced so much growth in the past 20 years that Stuart mentioned when he first started with the Commission that there were about 8 wineries in 2000 and today there are over 85+ wineries.  

Some fun facts to show more of Lodi’s growth in the wine industry is that its total wine production makes up 20% of California’s state production.   If that isn’t something to get excited about than I don’t know what will.   
Lodi Wines of California
The Wines
2018 Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards Ingénue 
This is the 2nd wine I have had from this winery and both have been quite impressive.  Located in the Mokelumne River AVA, this winery started about 10 years ago.  Acquiesce only grows white wines in a land of red.  They’re obviously proving what this region can also do with reds.  This wine is a blend of southern French grapes including 35% clairette blanc, 35% grenache blanc, 20% bourboulenc and 10% picpoul.  An aromatic wine, dry and delicate with luscious fruit.  SRP $32 

2018 m2 Winery Vermentino 
Not too much information on this winery’s website, but they produce small lot artisanal wines that opened their winery and tasting room in 2006.  Vermentino is a grape that is mostly found in Liguria, Sardinia and Tuscany.  This vermentino comes also from the Mokelumne River AVA.  Pale in color, but juicy, crisp acidity showing notes of green apple, orange and citrus with some minerality.  SRP $20 

2018 LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards Aglianico Rosé 
Aglianico is a grape that hails from the Campania and Basilicata regions of Italy.  Not too common to see it elsewhere, but here is produced in a rose style.  For a grape that usually produces big, rich tannin filled wines I was surprised to see what its capable of in a different style.  This is only the 2nd vintage produced for this winery.  Dusty rose colored with aromas of fresh picked strawberries this wine had a round mouthfeel.  Light bodied and delicate with nice acid and minerality on the finish.  Thrilled to start the season with rose’ and especially this one!  SRP $20 

2016 Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage 
Pinotage is a grape originating in South Africa and is a cross between the pinot noir and cinsaut grapes.  Deep in color, this medium bodied wine showed rich, dark fruits.  Supple with a toastiness and notes of spice.  SRP $25  

2016 PRIE Winery Carignane 
Carignane is a spanish grape also found in southern Rhone France.  These vines at Prie Winery are 120 year-old vines.  A complex, full-bodied wine with many layers and a silkiness to it.  Packed with red berries and vanilla with a balanced acidity.  These last couple wines are screaming for the BBQ season coming upon us.  SRP $29 

2016 Michael David Winery Ink Blot Cabernet Franc 
Located in the Mokelumne River AVA.  Usually blended with a little cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot.  Ink blog named after the big, dark inky colored varieties growing here.   This is Michael Davids Winery first cabernet franc that they have ever produced.  Cabernet franc originates in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux France and here is produced in a much bolder style.  Packed with rich, lustful dark fruits, notes of chocolate, vanilla with good length. SRP $35  
Not all of these wines are available online or in stores so it’s the perfect reason venture out to the Lodi and try them for yourself.  I need to make it out there myself one day!

To see some of my older articles featuring a wide variety of wines from the Lodi wine region you can check out:  
Italian Grapes in Lodi with Harney Lane’s Primitivo  
Wine Diversity in the Land of Lodi  
Wines of the Lodi with Harney Lane Winery & McCay Cellars


*Wines were received as samples, but opinions are always my own.

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