Chillable Lodi wines for early Spring refreshment
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here
– Emily Dickinson
Dickinson, like most of us, always felt a little divine power, and a little bit of madness, in the annual rites of Spring – green buds pushing frantically out of otherwise dead looking limbs or soft, rain soaked clearings.
The sun is always more refreshing in Spring; blindingly bright because our eyes have yet to get accustomed to it, still without the brutally oppressive heat of the months to come.
But with Spring light comes thirst, especially for wines that are best tasted chilled – all the better to enhance floral aromas and prickly sensations. Like buds on naked vines, Lodi’s wineries are just beginning to come out with their latest releases of white and pink wines – perfectly chillable ways to greet Spring 2013!
Some wines to look for:
2012 Bokisch, Vista Luna Vineyard, Borden Ranch-Lodi Garnacha Blanca ($18) – The white Grenache is the green skinned variant of the black Grenache grape; and it is because of this close genetic relationship that it tends to make a wine that is slightly fleshier, or meatier, than most white wine grapes, with honeyed, melony fruitiness. Bokisch’s 2012 may be their finest Garnacha Blanca to date – bone dry, light-medium bodied, flowing easily with a refreshing, lemony crispness. Shop at bokischvineyards.com.
2012 Bokisch, Lodi Albariño ($18) – There are two bottlings of Bokisch grown Albariño in 2012: the Las Cerezas Vineyard (located in Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA), and the Terra Alta Vineyard (Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA). Both are medium bodied, with a nice sense of lightness and citrusy balance. Where they differ is that the Terra Alta is a little more tropical – pineapple/mango fruitiness merged with flowery, citrusy perfumes – and finishes slightly softer. The Las Cerezas, grown in sandy soil of the Bokischs’ backyard, veers more towards fat Meyer lemon and wildflowers in the nose, with subtle nuances of a leafy green herbs; finishing lemony crisp and bone dry.
2011 Michael David, Lodi Vermentino ($14) – Although this is Summer 2012 release, the time is still “now” to enjoy this low key but very fine, almost European style of wine, tasting more of minerals and citrus than the tutti-fruitiness more typical of California white wines. Crisp, silky, light-medium bodied on the palate; finishing refreshingly dry. Shop michaeldavidwinery.com.
2012 Michael David, Lodi Symphony ($14) – Symphony is a cross of two varieties of Vitis vinifera (Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris) originally developed by Dr. Harold Olmo, a U.C. Davis viticulturist, in 1948 (although not introduced commercially into the California wine industry until 1981). Since then, plantings have increased modestly yet steadily precisely because of the kind of wine produced by Michael David: soft, easy drinking, lemony crisp and medium-sweet (4% residual sugar); teeming with an effusive, fresh fruitiness, combining mildly musky, flowery perfume with sensations of lush peach and lip smacking citrus.
2012 Sorelle, Sogno Dolce Lodi Muscat Canelli ($18) – At 3% residual sugar, this pure Muscat comes across as only slightly sweet and light (12.2% alcohol); its nectar-like, pear/lychee fruitiness balanced by a squeeze-of-lemon tartness, before finishing soft and easy on the palate. A crowd pleaser! Shop sorellewinery.com.
2012 Sorelle, Bella e Rosa Lodi Rosato ($16) – Sorelle’s previous vintage of rosé –a Sweepstake winner at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – was made exclusively from estate grown Sangiovese. The 2012 is a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Barbera; the latter grape giving the wine more of a salmon pink color and even zestier acid balance, underlining the wine’s emphatic fruitiness – bright, Juicy Fruit-like, cherry/strawberry qualities – with just whispers of sweetness (.5% residual sugar), before finishing completely dry.