Archive for March, 2011

Say cheese (and z-zin!) at ZinFest

March 29th, 2011
Say cheese (and z-zin!) at ZinFest

Behold, Lodi’s ZinFest 2011 is upon us, taking place this coming May 13-15 at Lodi Lake Park! The highlight of this three day wine country adventure is the ZinFest Wine Festival on Saturday, May 14:  50 Lodi wineries offering tastes of 250 of Lodi’s best, latest hand crafted wines; and yes, with a strong emphasis on Lodi’s heritage grape, Zinfandel.  No other region in California comes close to Lodi in the cultivation of ancient Zinfandel — thousands of acres of vines over 30 to 100+ years old — and Lodi still grows over 40% of all the Zinfandel in the.. VIEW MORE »

The most voluptuous Lodi zin of all

March 24th, 2011
The most voluptuous Lodi zin of all

  Is there such a thing as a “classic” Lodi Zinfandel?  Good question, because in many cases, the style of a winemaker or winery certainly does trump sensory qualities often associated with vineyard sites. Michael~David’s Earthquake Zinfandel, for example, has become somewhat iconic:  consistently black as night, big in alcohol, muscular in tannin, and yes, as strongly oaked (pungent vanillin/smoky aromas and flavors) as they are in richly ripened, jammy mixes of black and red berry fruitiness.  At the almost opposite end of the scale, Michael~David’s 7 Deadly Zins is usually fairly light and soft, lower in tannin and oak,.. VIEW MORE »

Lodi Tempranillo takes the cake

March 22nd, 2011
Lodi Tempranillo takes the cake

Who is that gaucho, amigo, why is he standing there in your spangled leather poncho?  Suddenly Lodi has a shiny new wine producing specialist in town; although not totally “new,” because he’s been nursing wine grapes here since the late nineties, at the far western edge of Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA, where the Mokelumne River flows from the Sierra Foothills through rolling, idyllic 400-600 ft. hills topped with alluvial soils on clay loams. Nevertheless, the just released 2008 Dancing Fox Old Father Vine Clements Hills Tempranillo ($25) represents winemaker/proprietor Gregg Lewis first varietal bottling of this grape; and in a.. VIEW MORE »

Barbera, the shut-up-and-drink-it wine

March 18th, 2011
Barbera, the shut-up-and-drink-it wine

A dozen or so years ago a wine/foodie contrarian named Willie Gluckstern came out with a ridiculously cheap (in a good way) $12 book called The Wine Avenger, guaranteeing that you can “become a wine/food genius in one hour.”  This was actually an exaggeration:  it would probably take a person of reasonable intelligence and functioning eyesight less than 30 minutes to “get” Gluckstern’s basic, on-the-money, plainly spoken premise, neatly summarized in this illustration from Gluckstern’s book: “First, do no harm,” Gluckstern writes, about selecting the best wine for a dish.  “Food amplifies everything in a wine.  That mean lighter wines.. VIEW MORE »

Akin Tannat is truly like none other

March 15th, 2011
Akin Tannat is truly like none other

Lodi’s customary cutting edge… Lodi is so far out ahead in many aspects of winegrowing, most folks aren’t even aware of it.  Most wine “experts” don’t know either — otherwise, you’d be reading about it in more places. Perfect example:  The 2006 Akin Estates, Christesen Vineyard Reserve Tannat – a red wine so bodaciously full, rich and meaty, you can practically eat it with a spoon while savoring its smoky, viscous flavors, redolent of fleshy plums, bing cherry and blackberry, with smidgens of sexy leather and dusty loam. Tannat, we say?  Think of a black skinned grape that produces a.. VIEW MORE »