Skip to content

Lodi Gets Unstuck: Longtime Winegrowing Region Gains Visibility

2012 October 24

At over 550,000 total acres, Lodi is one of Calfornia’s largest appellations. It has over 100,000 acres of vines, more than twice the plantings of the entire Napa Valley. Its first commercial winery, El Pinal, was built back in 1858. Nonetheless, the area has had a very low profile until recent years. In Matt Kramer’s 2004 New California Wine, for example, there’s absolutely no mention of Lodi, despite the book’s extensive coverage of most of California’s other wine regions.

A large reason for this is that although this cooler, northern portion of California’s giant Central Valley has been a major wine growing region for decades, most of the wineries located there until recent years were co-ops, whose wine production was typically sold on to large marketing companies, like Sebastiani and JFJ Bronco.

In fact, even up through the 1960s the signature grape produced in the area besides Zinfandel was a table grape, Flame Tokay, that was very popular until seedless table grapes were developed. These grapes were also made into wine and distilled into brandy.

This began to change in the late 1960s, when most of the co-ops were sold or closed, and vineyards started to be replanted with premium wine varieties.

Lodi was not designated an appellation in its own right until 1986. Its boundaries were expanded to the south and west in 2002. In 2006, the area was officially divided into seven sub-appellations based on climate and soil types: Alta Mesa, Borden Ranch, Clements Hills, Cosumnes River, Jahant, Mokelumne River and Sloughouse. At this point, however, I’ve only seen two of these sub-appellations appearing on wine labels, Clements Hills and Alta Mesa.

Mid-Nov2011 066

Lodi is now home to about 80 wineries. Two thirds of the plantings are red varieties. The primary grapes in the region are Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, but there are over 60 varieties being used for wine, including Italian, Spanish and Portuguese varieties.

My efforts to get a handle on this large and fast evolving region have included attending LOCA, the large Lodi producers tasting held on San Francisco’s Treasure Island the past two years, and a visit to several Lodi producers last year.

Having tasted over 400 Lodi appellation wines to date, my conclusion is that a great many of them are fairly average, featuring ripe fruit, at very reasonable price points. I’ve also found a handful of more complex and interesting wines made by producers striving for more distinction. Some of those producers focus on more unusual varieties, like Italian or Portuguese grapes, while others are simply doing the most they can with some of the region’s strengths—e.g., heritage vineyards of old vine, head pruned Zinfandel.

The region does particularly well with Zins, especially from old vines. Spanish and Portuguese grapes, not just red grapes like Tempranillo and Souzão, but also white grapes, like Albariño and Verdelho, also appear to have found ideal conditions in Lodi—much like the climate and soils of their native Iberia. Other whites grown in cooler portions of the region—Viognier, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc—often exhibit lively acidity and freshness. On the other hand, I have been unimpressed to date by most of the Cabernet Sauvignons I’ve tried from this area, a significant number of which exhibit the green and herbaceous flavors that indicate a lack of full physiological ripeness.

The very best wine I’ve tasted from Lodi to date was the 2000 vintage of Robert Biale’s Zin from the Spenker Vineyard, which I rated 93+ points. Unfortunately, Biale stopped making Zins from this vineyard in 2004. I have also been very impressed with Petite Sirah from the Mettler Family, and consistently complex and tasty Old Vine Zin from Klinker Brick, especially their Old Ghost bottling from low yielding vineyard blocks that are over 90 years old.

1011 045

St. Amant also produces consistently good old vine Zins. The best whites I’ve had include Peirano Vineyards’ Muscat Canelli, Downhill’s Torrontes from the Silvaspoons Vineyard, Heritage Oak’s Sauvignon Blanc, and Albariños from both Harney Lane and Jeremy Wine Company. Peirano also makes a tasty Malbec. I’ve also been impressed by Fields Family’s Syrahs.

Other good producers, responsible for one or more wines that I’ve rated 90 points or higher, include Borra, M2 Vintners, Macchia, McCay, Sheldon, St. Jorge, The Dancing Fox, Uvaggia and Wyneland Estates.

For value and a friendly, down-to-earth reception, I highly recommend a visit to Lodi wine country. For the region’s wine events calendar, check out the appellation’s informative website here.

For complete tasting notes on wines I have sampled in Lodi and at the LOCA event this month, see below:

2012 LOCA UNCORKED: THE BEST OF LODI CALIFORNIA WINES – Pavilion by the Bay, Treasure Island, San Francisco, California (10/6/2012)

Acquiesce

  • 2011 Acquiesce Belle Blanc – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; ripe citrus, ripe grapefruit nose; ripe citrus, ripe grapefruit palate; medium finish (56% Roussanne, 44% Grenache Blanc) (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Acquiesce Viognier – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; ripe pear, floral nose; odd, bunched up, ripe pear palate; medium finish (81 pts.)
  • 2011 Acquiesce Grenache Rosé – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light orange pink color; old roses, ripe pink grapefruit nose; ripe pink grapefruit, floral palate; short-medium finish (84 pts.)

Berghold

  • 2009 Berghold Vineyards Viognier Estate – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; floral, tart peach, poached pear nose; pineapple syrup, peach syrup palate; medium finish (82 pts.)
  • 2009 Berghold Vineyards Zinfandel Footstomp Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; baked plum, baked black fruit nose with a little VA; soft, tart berry, baked plum palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2007 Berghold Vineyards Syrah Estate – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; baked plum, berry jam nose; berry jam, black fruit jam palate; medium-plus finish (85 pts.)

Bokisch

  • 2011 Bokisch Vineyards Albariño Terra Alta – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills
    Very light yellow color; tart citrus, grapefruit, lime nose; ripe citrus, grapefruit, ripe lime palate; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills
    Light medium red color with pale meniscus; tart red berry, tart red fruit nose; tart red fruit, cinnamon palate; medium-plus finish (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; tart red berry, floral, tart cherry nose; juicy, tart cherry, tart red berry palate with good acidity; reminiscent of a Rioja Joven Tempranillo; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Bokisch Vineyards Graciano – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; tart red berry, floral, cranberry nose; tasty, poised, light-medium bodied, tart raspberry, strawberry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Borra

  • 2011 Borra Intuition White – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; floral tart pear, white rose nose; tangy, tart pear, tart orange palate; medium finish 86+ points (60% Kerner, 20% Gewurztraminer, 20% Rieslaner) (86 pts.)
  • 2009 Borra Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills
    Light medium red color with pale meniscus; redolent, raisin, tart currants nose; very tart currant, golden raisin palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Borra Fusion – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; oak, tart red berry nose; intense tart red berry, spice, cinnamon palate; medium-plus finish (67% Syrah, 15% Petite Sirah, 15% Zinfandel, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Alicante Bouschet) (87 pts.)

C’T’Z’N (Lucas Winery)

De Costa

Gen5

  • 2011 Gen 5 Winery Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart citrus, lemon nose; lightly oily textured, tangy, tart lime, mineral palate highly influenced by the Semillon in the blend; medium-plus finish (91% Chardonnay, 6% Semillon, 3% Viognier; 25% aged 6 mos in French and American oak) (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Gen 5 Winery Merlot – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; tart red berry, ripe red currant, lightly herbaceous nose; tart red currant, olive, herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish 86+ points (81% Merlot, 9% Petite Sirah, 5% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Zinfandel) (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Gen 5 Winery Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; odd, green olive, herbaceous nose; tart currant, green olive palate; medium-plus finish (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec) (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Gen 5 Winery Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark purple red violet color; tart red currant, tart red berry, herbaceous nose; tart red currant, tart red berry, herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish (86% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Tannat) (87 pts.)

Harney Lane

  • 2011 Harney Lane Albariño – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart citrus, tart gooseberry, lime nose; crisp, tart lime, citrus palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Harney Lane Zinfandel – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark cherry red color; tart berry fruit salad, black currant nose; baked berry, baked plum, spice palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; baked plum, baked berry, roasted fruit nose; baked plum, baked berry, roasted fruit palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Harney Lane Tempranillo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; redolent, ripe berry, baked berry,licorice nose; baked berry, violets, licorice palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Heritage Oak

  • 2011 Heritage Oak Sauvignon Blanc – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very light yellow color; lemon grass, tart peach nose; tart peach, green salsa palate; medium finish 86+ points (86 pts.)
  • 2009 Heritage Oak Zinfandel – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark cherry red color; ripe red currant nose; ripe red currant, tart plum palate; medium finish 87+ points (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Heritage Oak Tempranillo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark cherry red color; bell pepper, green olive nose; tart red currant, green olive palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2010 Heritage Oak Carignane – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark cherry red color; tart red fruit, tart red berry nose; juicy, red berry, tart cherry palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)

Ironstone

  • 2010 Ironstone Vineyards Petite Sirah – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark purple red violet color; tart plum, tart apricot nose; tart black fruit, tart apricot palate; medium finish (80 pts.)

Jeremy

  • 2011 Jeremy Wine Company Albariño – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; aromatic, tart pear, ripe citrus, tart apple nose; tart pear, ripe citrus, tart apple palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Jeremy Wine Company The Choral Blend – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; redolent, intriguing, lifted, tart plum, tart berry, fresh nose; juicy, tart red plum, tart red berry palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish (25% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera, 23% Petite Sirah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Teroldego, 6% Montepulciano) (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Jeremy Wine Company Zinfandel – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; spicy red berry, spicy plum nose with a little VA; maturing, tart berry, tart plum, spice palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Jeremy Wine Company Tempranillo – USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Very dark ruby color; intriguing, roasted plum, roasted currant nose; tart currant, roasted plum, pepper palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Jeremy Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; brett, tart currant nose; ripe currant, brett, Cotes-du-Rhone like palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)

Kidder Family

  • 2011 Kidder Family Winery Verdelho – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart citrus, floral nose; ripe, tart peach palate; short-medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2011 Kidder Family Winery Moscato Blanco – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very light yellow color; appealing, floral, orange blossom, ripe pear nose; pear syrup, floral, orange blossom palate; medium finish 86+ points (frizzante, 2.5 grams RS) (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Kidder Family Winery Duet – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; ripe black plum, ripe berry, blackberry nose; ripe black plum, ripe berry, blackberry palate; medium-plus finish 87+ points (blend of Graciano and Tempranillo) (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Kidder Family Winery Syrah Estate – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; tart plum, black fruit, light herb nose; tart plum, tart black fruit, herb palate with a little heat; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Klinker Brick

  • 2010 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark red violet color; VA, baked berry, baked black fruit nose; baked black fruit, roasted plum palate; medium-plus finish (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Klinker Brick Bricks & Mortar – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; ripe berry, baked black fruit nose; baked black fruit, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 87+ points (blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel) (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark maroon color; appealing, tart berry, mulberry, tart black fruit nose; tart berry, mulberry, tart black fruit palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Old Ghost – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; rich, appealing, baked berry, ripe black fruit, berry nose; tasty, rich but balanced, complex, tart berry baked berry, black fruit palate; long finish 92+ points (92 pts.)

LangeTwins

  • 2011 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Musqué Clone – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; lemon grass, grapefruit nose; lemon grass, grapefruit palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2010 LangeTwins Zinfandel – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark cherry red color; tart red berry, currant nose; tart red berry, currant palate; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2010 LangeTwins Malbec – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; tart red currant, light pepper nose; tart red currant, light pepper palate; medium-plus finish 86+ points (86 pts.)
  • 2009 LangeTwins Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; intense tart currant nose; tart currant, Cab Franc-like, herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)

M2

  • 2010 M2 Vintners Zinfandel Artist Series – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; baked black fruit, sweet green herb nose; tasty, focused, ripe black fruit, baked black fruit, blackberry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2010 M2 Vintners Zinfandel Old Vines Soucie Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; intriguing, baked black fruit, licorice, tart black fruit nose; concentrated, tart black fruit, baked black fruit, licorice, tart berry syrup palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2010 M2 Vintners Tempranillo Tormento Kirschenman Vineyards – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; herbed, tart currant, spicy red fruit nose; tasty, spicy, tart red fruit, ripe currant palate with structure; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • NV M2 Vintners Ruby’s Muse Silvaspoons – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    From 375 ml – medium dark red violet color; redolent, porty, baked plum, baked berry nose; complex, baked berry, fig compote palate; long finish (88 pts.)

Macchia

  • 2011 Macchia Sangiovese Amorous – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; VA, tart red berry nose; tart red berry, juniper berry palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2011 Macchia Barbera Delicious – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; spicy red plum, red berry nose; odd, tart cherry, tart red currant palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2010 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; baked cherry, baked berry, ripe currant nose; ripe red currant, tart cherry palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Macchia Petite Sirah Bodacious – USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Very dark ruby color; oak, ripe raspberry, baked plum nose; tangy, tart red plum, baked red plum, tart red berry palate; medium-plus finish 87+ points (87 pts.)

McCay

  • 2011 McCay Cellars Rosé – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light medium orange pink color; floral, tart strawberry, tart plum, tart peach nose; soft, ripe peach, strawberry palate; medium finish (70% Carignane, 25% Grenache, 5% Syrah) (87 pts.)
  • 2009 McCay Cellars Paisley – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; ripe red berry, red plum, floral nose; juicy, tart plum, red berry palate; medium-plus finish (55% Zinfandel, 45% Petite Sirah) (88 pts.)
  • 2009 McCay Cellars Zinfandel Jupiter – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium ruby color; redolent, baked berry, strawberry and red berry jam nose; ripe red berry, baked red berry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (from 80 yr old vines) (88 pts.)
  • 2009 McCay Cellars Zinfandel Truluck’s – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium red violet color; redolent, baked berry, ripe currant nose; tasty, intense, ripe currant, baked berry palate; medium-plus finish 89+ points (from 80 yr old head trained vines) (89 pts.)
  • 2010 McCay Cellars Zinfandel Contention – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; unusual, light herb, tart currant, earthy nose; intriguing, ripe red currant, tart cherry, light herb, ripe cranberry palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points (from 85 yr old vines) (90 pts.)

Mettler Family

Oak Farm

  • 2011 Oak Farm Vineyards Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart pear, tart peach, tart pineapple nose; tart peach, tart pineapple palate with integrating oak; medium-plus finish 87+ points (87 pts.)
  • 2011 Oak Farm Vineyards Rosado Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light medium orange pink color; tart pink grapefruit, tart blood orange nose; tasty, tart pink grapefruit, tart blood orange palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Oak Farm Vineyards Malbec Clements Hills – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills
    Dark ruby color; baked berry, spice, tart plum nose; tart plum, spice, tart apricot palate; medium-plus finish 86+ points (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Oak Farm Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; tart currant, padron pepper, bell pepper nose; tart currant, bell pepper, padron pepper palate; medium-plus finish 87+ points (87 pts.)

Oak Ridge

One Way

Peirano

Riaza

  • 2011 Riaza Wines Torrontés Silvaspoons Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Alta Mesa
    Light yellow color; baked pineapple, baked lemon, orange rind, orange blossom nose; medium bodied, tart baked pineapple, floral, oak palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2010 Riaza Wines Tempranillo Hunter’s Oak – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills
    Light medium cherry red color; floral, baked red berry, licorice nose; tasty, rich, licorice, honey, black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 86+ points (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Riaza Wines Tempranillo Bray Vineyard – USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Dark cherry red color; baked berry, dried fig, tar, smoke nose; tart black fruit, smoke, dried fig palate; medium-plus finish 85+ points (85 pts.)
  • 2010 Riaza Wines Graciano Terra Alta – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills
    Dark cherry red color; oak, baked berry, baked raspberr nose; tart cherry, baked raspberry, tart black fruit, Welch’s grape juice palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Scotto Family

  • 2009 Scotto Family Wines Zinfandel Old Vines – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; baked berry, black fruit nose showing heat; baked black fruit, dried fig palate; medium finish (83 pts.)
  • 2008 Scotto Family Wines Malbec – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; roasted plum, tobacco nose; tart black fruit, roasted black fruit, tobacco palate; medium finish (85 pts.)

St. Amant

  • 2010 St. Amant Winery Barbera – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark cherry red color; ripe berry, baked cherry nose showing heat; baked cherry, cinnamon, oak palate showing heat; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2010 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; complex, tart berry, baked berry nose showing some heat; rich, complex, tart berry, baked berry, ripe black fruit, blackberry palate; medium-plus finish (vineyard planted in 1944) (90 pts.)
  • 2011 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Marian’s Vineyard Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; intriguing,complex, baked berry, tart blackberry, tart plum nose; tasty, poised, tart blackberry, tart black fruit, mocha palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (vineyard planted in 1901) (91 pts.)

St. Jorge

  • 2011 St. Jorge Winery Verdelho Silvaspoons Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart pear syrup, floral nose; tart pear, tart pear syrup, tart pineapple, ripe grapefruit palate; medium finish 88+ points (1.25 grams RS) (88 pts.)
  • 2010 St. Jorge Winery Tempranillo Silvaspoons – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; appealing, baked berry, tart black cherry, coffee nose; coffee, baked berry palate with near medium acidity; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • 2009 St. Jorge Winery Vinho Tinto Belo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark cherry red color; tart red berry, floral, tart raspberry nose; tart raspberry, baked red fruit, tart red berry, light caramel palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)
  • 2009 St. Jorge Winery Souzão Silvaspoons – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; intense, baked red berry, red currant, dried berry nose; baked red berry, red currant, dried berry nose; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2010 St. Jorge Winery Trincadeira – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium red violet color with pale meniscus; intriguing, tart plum, baked plum, floral, baked raspberry nose; complex, light-medium bodied, tart red berry, red currant, tart plum plate; medium-plus finish (good food wine; from the only acre of the variety in California) (90 pts.)
  • 2009 St. Jorge Winery Zinfandel Old Vine Mohr-fry home ranch – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark cherry red color; ripe cherry, baked raspberry nose; rich but poised, tart cherry, baked cherry, tart red fruit palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)

Stama

  • 2007 Stama Zinfandel Zany Zin Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; mature, tart currant, tart plum nose; mature, tart currant, tart plum palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2009 Stama Merlot – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium red violet color; mature, tart currant, tart plum nose; mature, tart currant, tart plum, olive, baked black fruit palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2009 Stama Cabernet Sauvignon The Nymph – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; tart currant, baked black fruit, oak nose; tart currant, baked black fruit, oak palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2005 Stama Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark orange color; caramel, smoky apricot jam nose; caramel, smoky apricot jam palate with low acidity; medium-plus finish (83 pts.)

Uvaggio

  • 2011 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Vermentino – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light peach yellow color; tart citrus, lime nose; tart citrus, tart lime palate with good cut and sprightly acidity; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2011 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Moscato Dulce – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; orange blossom, floral, ripe pear nose; tasty, rich but poised, ripe pear, poached pear, orange blossom, pear syrup palate; medium-plus finish (8.5% alcohol) (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Primitivo Barile – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; baked cherry, baked red berry nose; tart red berry, baked cherry, cinnamon, oak palate; needs 1-plus years; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Barbera – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; tart red fruit, ripe cranberry nose; tart red berry, cranberry, juniper berry palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Van Ruiten

  • 2011 Van Ruiten Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart citrus, lemon nose; pineapple, ripe citrus palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2010 Van Ruiten Petite Sirah – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark ruby color; tart plum, currant nose; tart plum, currant palate that tastes acidified; medium finish (84 pts.)

Vicarmont

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi

  • 2011 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Vermentino – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; lemon grass, tart grapefruit nose; lemon grass, tart grapefruit palate with medium acidity; medium finish 86+ points (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Woodbridge Cherokee Station – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; ripe lime, green fruit nose; tart lime palate with medium acidity; medium finish 85+ points (blend of Viognier and Grenache Blanc) (85 pts.)
  • 2009 Woodbridge Tempranillo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark ruby color; spicy berry, dried berry, licorice nose; spicy berry, dried berry, licorice palate; medium finish 87+ points (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Woodbridge Barbera Winemaker’s Selection – USA, California
    Dark ruby color; tart red fruit, green herb nose; tart red currant, green olive palate; medium-plus finish (14 mos in oak) (86 pts.)

THE FIRST SIP – LODI HARVEST CELEBRATION – Lodi and environs, California (11/13/2011)

Dancing Fox

  • NV The Dancing Fox Fire Dance – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart peach, apple nose; sweet peach, ripe apple palate; short-medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2010 The Dancing Fox Chenin Blanc – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very light yellow color; slightly savory, tart apple nose; savory, tart apple, mineral palate; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2007 The Dancing Fox Zinfandel Ancient Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; tart berry, dried berry, tart black currant nose; maturing, tart berry, tart black currant iodine palate; medium finish (88 pts.)
  • 2009 The Dancing Fox Zinfandel RumpelstilZIN – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark red violet color; intense, baked plum, black fruit, charcoal nose; intense, tart black fruit, baked berry palate with sweetness; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2008 The Dancing Fox Petite Sirah – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark red violet color; complex, dried berry, dried orange nose; tasty, complex, tart dried berry, tart black fruit palate with orange acidity; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2007 The Dancing Fox Cabernet Franc Reserve – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark red violet color; rich, tart currant, tart plum nose; rich, tart currant, tart stewed plum palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)

d’Art

  • 2011 d’Art Wines Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – tart poached pear, tart apple nose; tart poached pear, tart apple palate with good acidity; medium finish 87-89 points (87 pts.)
  • 2011 d’Art Wines Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – light-medium cherry red color with 2 millimeter clear meniscus; floral, roses, tart cherry nose; tart cherry, tart raspberry palate with balance; medium finish 88-90 points (88 pts.)
  • 2011 d’Art Wines Syrah Borden Hills Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – dark ruby color; tart red berry nose; tart currant, tart red berry palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 86-89 points (86 pts.)
  • 2010 d’Art Wines Syrah Borden Hills Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – dark ruby color; lifted, floral, tart berry nose; tasty, complex, tart berry, tart currant palate with good balance; medium-plus finish 89-91 points (89 pts.)
  • 2009 d’Art Wines Zinfandel – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; focused, baked berry, red bean nose; soft, tart red berry, baked berry palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • 2007 d’Art Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; baked berry, baked plum, smoky oak nose; tart black fruit, iodine palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2009 d’Art Wines Petite Sirah – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark purple red violet color; tart black fruit, tart berry, tar nose; tight, tar, tart black fruit, dark chocolate palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • NV d’Art Wines Dog Day Red – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; chocolate, oak, caramel, berry nose; ripe berry, chocolate, ripe plum palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • NV d’Art Wines Port – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; deep berry, chocolate nose; deep berry, chocolate, baked berry, hot palate; long finish (88 pts.)

Fields Family

  • 2009 Fields Family Wines Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll
    Dark red violet color; tart black fruit, tar nose; tart black fruit, tar, olive palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2008 Fields Family Wines Syrah Estate – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; lifted, tart plum, tart berry nose; tart black fruit, tar palate; medium finish 85+ points (85 pts.)
  • 2009 Fields Family Wines Syrah Estate – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; violet, black fruit, lavender nose; tasty, black fruit, tart berry, lavender palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Fields Family Wines Syrah Estate – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – very dark maroon color; berry, creosote, oak nose; rich, tart black fruit, creosote, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 90-92 points (new French oak, Hermitage barrel)

    Barrel sample – very dark maroon color; herbaceous, tart plum, tart currant nose; tasty, tart currant, tart plum palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 90-92 points (neutral, ’07, Hermitage oak)

    Barrel sample – very dark maroon color; lovely, tart currant, creosote nose; tasty, tart currant, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish 90-92 points (1/3 new oak, 2/3s neutral)

    Barrel sample – very dark maroon color; rich berry, blackberry, creosote, light pepper nose; tasty, tart blackberry, creosote, black currant palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 91-93 points (blend of all the barrels) (90 pts.)

Hansen

  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Viognier – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; light honeysuckle, tart pear nose; tasty, tart pear, light honeysuckle palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light straw yellow color; tart apple, lemon nose; chalky, straw palate; medium finish (82 pts.)
  • 2008 Hansen Garbarino Chardonnay Heritage Collection – USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley
    Light straw yellow color; tart green apple, green pea nose; reduction, green pea, tart citrus palate; medium finish (83 pts.)
  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Pinot Noir Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light-medium garnet red color with 1 millimeter clear meniscus; vanilla oak, cherry, strawberry nose; tart strawberry, vanilla oak palate; short-medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Merlot Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; herbaceous, tart currant nose; tart currant, herbaceous palate; short-medium finish (with Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah) (83 pts.)
  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium ruby color; oak, ripe cassis, red berry nose; oak, ripe cassis, red berry palate; medium finish (83 pts.)
  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium cherry red color; baked berry, black currant nose; simple, black currant, berry palate; medium finish (15 yr old vines; “old vine”? really?) (86 pts.)
  • 2009 S-J Hansen Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
    Light straw yellow color; light reduction, tart citrus, nose; reduction, tart green apple, chalk palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2008 Hansen Garbarino Zinfandel Parc Chic Lush – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; sourdough, oak, briary, baked currant nose; poised, tart black currant, tart berry palate; medium finish (25-yr old vines) (88 pts.)
  • 2008 rock lobster Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark garnet color; maturing, dried currant, tart berry nose; tart black currant, iodine, savory palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (45 yr old vines) (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Hansen Garbarino Parc Chic Wicked – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; lifted, ripe currant, olive nose; lifted, ripe currant, olive palate; medium finish (Zin blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Montepulciano, Syrah and Barbera) (83 pts.)
  • NV AH Wines Brick House – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium garnet color; smoky, oak, tart red fruit nose; tart currant, olive, herbaceous palate; medium finish (79 pts.)
  • 2008 Garbarino Estate Raffaele Cinque Terra Vineyard – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; complex, cigar box, tart plum, ripe currant nose; tasty, ripe currant, iodine, very tart black fruit, light cedar palate; medium finish (blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Tannat) (87 pts.)

Harney Lane

  • 2010 Harney Lane Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart pear, tart peach nose; soft, tart pear, tart peach palate; medium finish 87+ points (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Harney Lane Albariño – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; nice tart apple, tart pear nose; tasty, tart pear, tart green apple, mineral palate; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Harney Lane Tempranillo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark ruby color; spicy red fruit, spicy cherry nose; tight, tart cherry, spicy, cinnamon palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Harney Lane Tempranillo – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – cloudy dark maroon color; ripe cherry, baked cherry, berry nose; very tart cherry, tart red berry palate with medium acidity; medium finish 87-89 points (87 pts.)

Housley’s Century Oak

Pasos

  • 2010 Pasos Vineyards Charbono Dry Rosé – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Slightly cloudy light-medium pink color with 1.5 millimeter clear meniscus; ripe strawberry, watermelon nose; tart red berry, tart watermelon palate with near medium acidity; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Pasos Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Bartholomew – USA, California, Central Valley, Alta Mesa
    Dark red violet color; lifted, floral, tart roasted black fruit, dried currant nose; tart dried currant, tart red berry palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2008 Pasos Vineyards Zinfandel – USA, California, Sierra Foothills
    Cloudy black red violet color; major VA nose; VA, balsamic vinegar, flawed (NR/flawed)
  • 2008 Pasos Vineyards Charbono – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very dark black red violet color; tart berry, red currant nose; tart currant, very tart red berry palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2008 Pasos Vineyards Carménère Bartholomew – USA, California, Central Valley, Alta Mesa
    Opaque black red violet color with red violet meniscus; herbs, tart currant, oregano nose; very tart currant, oregano palate; medium-plus finish (86 pts.)
  • 2007 Pasos Vineyards Reserve Dastarte – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    From magnum – dark black red violet color; tart currant, tart black currant, tart plum nose; tart black currant, very tart plum palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish (in barrel 48 mos.) (85 pts.)

Sorelle

  • 2010 Sorelle Winery Pinot Grigio aka Grazia Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light straw yellow color; light citrus, grapefruit nose; chalk, citrus, grapefruit palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2009 Sorelle Winery Pinot Grigio aka Grazia Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light straw yellow color; focused, light citrus, tart apple nose; white cheese, light citrus, chalk palate with possible acidification; medium finish (83 pts.)
  • 2009 Sorelle Winery Barbera aka Belleza Fra Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium ruby color; ripe berry, blackberry, black fruit nose; tart black fruit, tart berry, iodine palate with good acidity; medium finish (1/3 new oak for 9 mos.) (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Sorelle Winery Barbera Reserve Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium ruby color; smoke, oak, savory nose; smoky, tart red fruit, sour cherry palate; medium finish (18 mos. in oak, last 9 mos. new; basically overwhelmed by oak; vines planted in ’07) (84 pts.)
  • 2009 Sorelle Winery Sangiovese aka Troppo Bella Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium garnet color with pale meniscus; oak, tart strawberry, tart cranberry nose; smoky, tart strawberry palate; medium finish (18 mos. in oak, i.e., too much oak) (83 pts.)
  • 2009 Sorelle Winery Primitivo aka Sorriso Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; tart black cherry, black raspberry nose; tart black cherry, tart black raspberry palate with grip and acidity; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Sorelle Winery Primitivo Reserve Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium ruby color; oak, toast, black fruit nose; toast, tart black fruit, oak palate; medium-plus finish (18 mos. in American oak, i.e., too f’ing much oak) (83 pts.)
  • NV Sorelle Winery Sparkling Almond aka Bollicina Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Very light yellow color; Frangelico, sweet almond nose; sparkling, heavy mousse, sweet almond, Frangelico palate; short-medium finish (79 pts.)
  • 2011 Sorelle Winery Primitivo aka Sorriso Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Barrel sample – medium dark ruby color; smoky oak, toast nose; tart red berry, smoke, herbal palate; medium-plus finish 84-86 points (84 pts.)

Toasted Toad

  • 2009 Toasted Toad Cellars Zinfandel – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; tart cherry, tart red berry nose; light-medium bodied, rich, baked berry, nutmeg palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2009 Toasted Toad Cellars Merlot – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
    Medium ruby color; tart plum, herbaceous nose; focused, tart currant, tart plum, herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Toasted Toad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
    Dark ruby color; focused, tart currant, cedar nose; tart currant, cedar palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2009 Toasted Toad Cellars Touriga Nacional Toadilly Luscious – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    From 375 ml – dark red violet color; focused, baked berry, baked black fruit, dried berry nose; rich, baked berry, chocolate, chocolate cherry palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

Wyneland Estates

  • 2009 Wyneland Estates Chardonnay – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light yellow color; tart apple, tart pineapple nose; tart pineapple, tart apple palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • NV Wyneland Estates Rosé – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light orange pink color; focused, tart currant, blood orange nose; silky textured, tart currant, tart blood orange, mineral palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • 2006 Wyneland Estates Alicante Bouschet 1er Cru – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; aromatic, lightly smoky, tart currant, salumi nose; tasty, tart currant, salumi, light oregano palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Wyneland Estates Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Medium dark red violet color; dried berry, dried black currant, baked berry nose; baked berry, dried black currant, tar, licorice palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • NV Wyneland Estates Pipedreams Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Dark red violet color; dark chocolate, dried berry, tar nose; dried berry, marjoram, tar, chocolate palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (’07, ’08 and ’09, American and French oak; indigenous yeast) (88 pts.)
4 Responses leave one →
  1. October 27, 2012

    Richard,

    Great article and wine reviews on Lodi wineries! We love Lodi wineries and wines, and for the fact that you can often meet and have your wine poured by the winemaker in person. It is a very special experience to tour, taste, and discuss the passion for wine making with the vintner him or herself.

    Cheers!

    Dana Hall
    Sip California

  2. Ryan Sherman permalink
    October 29, 2012

    Richard – thanks for covering Lodi. Thank you for the nice comments re: our Syrah. Cheers!

    • Richard Jennings permalink*
      October 31, 2012

      Ryan, sorry you and Fields Family weren’t at the tasting this year. Glad I got to try your wines the year before and in Lodi. I hope all is well and that harvest was good to you.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog » Daily Wine News: Frank Zappa

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: