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The LoCA Life & Times

In Lodi, wine comes first. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Meet the passionate people behind our handcrafted wines and gnarly old vines.

Randy Caparoso
 
June 27, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Delicious winemaker obsessions over “odd” grapes and blends

Delicious winemaker obsessions over “odd” grapes and blends

An heirloom vine grows in Lodi What is it with winemakers and their “odd” varieties and blends? Well, as Robert Mondavi always used to say, winemaking is as much an art as it is a science; and if there’s even a speck of truth to that statement, we have to expect something coming out of left field from some of our more artistic winemakers every once in a while. Sometimes they produce a wine that is as outlandishly good as it is unusual, and it ends up getting picked out of over a thousand other white wines for an honor..

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Time Posted: Jun 27, 2012 at 9:30 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 25, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Mohr-Fry’s celebrated Alicante Bouschet may soon be kicking up daisies, not gold medals

Mohr-Fry’s celebrated Alicante Bouschet may soon be kicking up daisies, not gold medals

One of the Lodi AVA’s most venerated plantings – Mohr-Fry Ranches’ twelve and a half acres of Alicante Bouschet, which originally went into the ground in 1921 – may not be long for this world, which would be a tragic turn of events. Especially when you taste the recently released 2009 Harmony Wynelands Lodi Alicante Bouschet ($30), sourced completely from Mohr-Fry Ranches. The ‘09 was this winery’s third vintage to win a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and for very good reason: it’s a vividly dark red, solid as a Chevy truck, plush and beefy, with..

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Time Posted: Jun 25, 2012 at 9:37 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 22, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s best-of-the-best wines at the 2012 California State Fair

Lodi’s best-of-the-best wines at the 2012 California State Fair

Lodi grown wines garnered their share California State Fair awards, announced earlier this week. That’s impressive, considering that there were 2,890 wines, made by 688 wineries, submitted for sober adjudication by 72 distinguished wine judges. 2,156 of these wines earned medals; but more importantly, a handful of Lodi grown wines that garnered top top honors at the State Fair. Especially this one – grown by Lodi’s Portuguese grape king, Ron Silva, up there in Galt – which was named best white wine period (“better” than over a 1,000 other white wines, of every type and in every category, entered into..

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Time Posted: Jun 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 18, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

The soul of a winegrower in Lodi’s Twisted Roots

The soul of a winegrower in Lodi’s Twisted Roots

When Ross Schmiedt talks about wine quality, family and sustainability – something he does all the time, with inspiring ebullience, even from the confines of his wheelchair (in recent years Mr. Schmiedt has been impaired by ALS) – you quickly realize that in his mind, all three things are one and the same. First, about quality: you will not find a purer, less mucked up or unfettered expression of Lodi AVA grown Zinfandel than the 2010 Twisted Roots 1918 Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel ($25): an unusually zesty, almost prickly-briary, yet smoothly balanced, moderately weighted style of red wine that is..

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Time Posted: Jun 18, 2012 at 9:51 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 13, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Going mad about saffron & Iberian grapes at the TAPAS Grand Tasting

Going mad about saffron & Iberian grapes at the TAPAS Grand Tasting

46 wineries and growers presented cutting-edge wines made from grapes of Spanish or Portuguese origin at the 5th annual TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers & Amigos Society) Grand Wine Tasting in San Francisco’s Fort Mason this past Saturday, June 9. Yet one could argue that the biggest hit at this year’s TAPAS showcase was not a wine or winemaker, but a dish: the sumptuous, golden paella made by Lodi’s own Addy’s Paella, which has to be tasted to be believed: saffron infused rice (utilizing authentic arroz from Spain), shrimp, chicken, Lockeford sausage, and the most pungent, garlicky aioli made west of..

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Time Posted: Jun 13, 2012 at 9:57 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 11, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Forlorn Hope’s pure style of Torrontés & Alvarelhão

Forlorn Hope’s pure style of Torrontés & Alvarelhão

While Lodi is known for its wine grape productivity – as such, the largest single American Viticultural Area in the U.S. – it has also become known as a source of many a cutting-edge grape. You name it, at least some of it is grown here: from Alicante Bouschet, Bastardo and Carmine, to Trincadeira, Vermentino, Zweigelt, and some 70 other odd varieties in between. Many of the gigantic wineries, like E. & J. Gallo and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, utilize lesser known varieties in their blending programs. On the opposite end of the scale are the micro-sized producers who actually..

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Time Posted: Jun 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 7, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

TAPAS & Albariño, for all the right (culinary) reasons

TAPAS & Albariño, for all the right (culinary) reasons

The gastronomic grape Do you enjoy alternative style wines veering off from the usual heavy handed, ripe or oaky style typical of “California” wine? Then you should seriously consider attending the Grand Wine Tasting sponsored by TAPAS – that is, the Tempranillo Advocates Producers & Amigos Society – this coming Saturday, June 19, 2012 in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center; and where, needless to say, a number of Lodi’s top producers will be pouring. TAPAS, which is all about appreciation of wines made from grapes native to Spain and/or Portugal, is turning out to be a very good thing for jaded wine..

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Time Posted: Jun 7, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 5, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Phenomenal 2010 Zinfandels, current & upcoming

Phenomenal 2010 Zinfandels, current & upcoming

Since fall of 2010, Lodi’s leading Zinfandel specialists have been saying that 2010 is the best vintage in recent memory. Now that a few of these wines are out in the market, it’s time to ask the hard question: is 2010 truly a “vintage year” for Lodi Zinfandel, or are some people just blowing smoke? In the world of wine, we commonly say that there are vintages, and there are “great vintages.” When talking about wines from Bordeaux in France, wine journalists have the annoying habit of dubbing at least one vintage out of every ten as the “vintage of..

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Time Posted: Jun 5, 2012 at 10:20 PM