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Appreciating Zinfandels (especially from Lodi) like a sommelier

August 12th, 2014
Appreciating Zinfandels (especially from Lodi) like a sommelier

In seminars at the 2014 Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Experience (i.e. ZAP) in San Francisco this past January, some of California’s top sommeliers presented Zinfandels from their perspective: in terms of terroir, or “sense of place.” Why terroir; and not, say, varietal character? The Zinfandel grape produces red wines that, more than others, are usually appreciated or evaluated in terms of their fruit profile – a rich, full, often jammy berryishness – rather than sensations reflecting geographic origins. But for many wine lovers, Zinfandel can be just as noble a varietal as, say, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, or any other.. VIEW MORE »

Old vine, old time Six Hands Chenin Blanc from Cresci Vineyard

July 30th, 2014
Old vine, old time Six Hands Chenin Blanc from Cresci Vineyard

Six Hands Winery has just released a 2013 Six Hands Cresci Vineyard Lodi Chenin Blanc ($16) that is as dry as a desert, yet gushy in varietal perfumes of wild honey, green melon, white flowers and underlying minerality. On the palate, the first impression is a lemony crisp snappiness, followed by a silky smooth glycerol feel extending into a bone dry finish:  very contemporary in its fine, clean, appealingly spare lines, with an emphasis on flowery fruit rather than alcoholic weight or oak (the wine’s silky texture resulting from brief aging and lees contact in neutral oak barrels, following stainless.. VIEW MORE »

Barbecue & wine: Van Ruiten Family’s Matt Ridge tests a tried-and-true theory

July 22nd, 2014
Barbecue & wine:  Van Ruiten Family’s Matt Ridge tests a tried-and-true theory

  At Lodi’s Tin Roof BBQ it’s all about barbecue.  Gloriously meaty, outdoor-smoky, not-too-fatty and not-too-sweetie barbecue, which is exactly the way that owner/chef Richard Berardi likes it. Mr. Berardi started up Tin Roof BBQ nine years ago on Guild Avenue in the east side of town as, strangely enough, someone who didn’t like barbecue.  “I’m a refugee from an Italian restaurant family,” he tells us, “and if there’s one thing you know about Italians, they’re always fighting… I wanted to get away from all that dysfunction and do something different.” And so barbecue it was.  The beauty of this.. VIEW MORE »

John Fogerty never slept here (101 grapes & other lesser known facts about Lodi)

July 15th, 2014
John Fogerty never slept here (101 grapes & other lesser known facts about Lodi)

Oh, lord… Although it was the “B” side of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 single record, “Bad Moon Rising” (which peaked at No. 52 on the Top 100 singles charts), in many ways the song “Lodi” has endured as one of the group’s catchiest, most memorable tunes – its story line (being “stuck” in a nowheresville town), one that almost anyone can identify with. But it was never a true story. As it turns out, CCR’s founding leader and songwriter, John Fogerty, never actually slept, or got stuck, in Lodi.  As far as anyone knows, he still hasn’t, to this day. .. VIEW MORE »

Michael David’s commitments lead to top honors at California State Fair

July 11th, 2014
Michael David’s commitments lead to top honors at California State Fair

This past June 14, 2014, when the California State Fair announced the top awards resulting from its famously rigorous wine judging taking place in Sacramento each year, one Lodi winery loomed significantly among the winners:  Lodi’s Michael David Winery. Michael David’s two awards: “Best Petite Sirah” – 2012 Michael David Earthquake Lodi Petite Sirah ($26) “Best Lodi Red” – 2012 Michael David Inkblot Lodi Cabernet Franc ($35) Michael David is easily the largest of Lodi’s premium wineries; having grown from just a couple thousand cases in the early nineties to over 450,000 cases produced each year.  Today, Michael David’s brands.. VIEW MORE »