St. Amant's Stuart Spencer with 2014 Marian's Vineyard Zinfandel harvest
Is there any winery more respected by other Lodi winemakers and growers than St. Amant? Founded in 1979 by Barbara and the late Tim Spencer (Stuart Spencer’s parents), St. Amant has remained pre-eminent in the Lodi winegrowing community while retaining its original, unpretentious identity.Continue »
Craig Rous among his 106-year-old Rous Vineyard Zinfandel vines
Over the next two weeks we will feature words from a few winemakers and growers, speaking out on one subject: what makes Lodi special.
That is to say, the things that make the Lodi Viticultural Area different from other American AVAs that go beyond terroir – the mostly natural elements of a wine region related to climate and topography.
We will start with Craig Rous, the Director of Operations and Planning of the Kautz family’s Bear Creek Winery. Mr. Rous not only oversees the processing of a myriad of wine grapes from all parts of the Lodi AVA, he also happens to be the owner/grower of Rous Vineyard – a 10-acre Zinfandel vineyard originally planted in 1909 on St. George rootstocks, located in the beach sand-like soils of the east side of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA.Continue »
Bechthold Vineyard Cinsaut (ancient vines planted in 1886) during July 2015 veraison; source of some of the finest roses in California
Summer, as many Lodi wine lovers well know, is the time for backyards brimming with tinkles and laughter, hovering hummingbirds, and the pungently earthy scent of golden paellas or the wispy gray smoke of grilling vegetables and marinated white or red meats; the heat bending the optics of multi-colored flora through the dappled shades and blinding rays of sun penetrating through the typically towering trees nourished by our fertile Delta soil.Continue »
The non-existent connection between quality and price
How much of what we perceive or think about wine is a mind trick - much less real than we may suspect?
Naturally, here in Lodi – where average bottle prices tend to be slightly lower than that of other wine regions because of a number of circumstances, beginning with grape prices – we have reason to dwell on this question. In our case: How much of what consumers (as well as critics and wine industry professionals) think of Lodi wines is real, and how much is simply unfounded perception?Continue »
Taking Lodi’s temperature over the past century
There are things about the Lodi Viticultural Area that are not exactly common knowledge among wine lovers.
The growing of wine grapes in this Delta region, for instance, dates back to the 1860s. Yet Lodi is still considered an “up and coming” wine region. Fair enough. Although Lodi is easily the largest wine grape growing region in the U.S. in terms of acreage (table grapes and raisins play almost no role in Lodi’s viticultural industry), top quality varietal wines that say “Lodi” on the label didn’t actually appear in the market until the late 1990s. In that sense, Lodi is very up and coming.
Lodi's Jon Bjork grilling up some Korean style short ribs
Who doesn’t associate summer with barbecue? It’s an American thing, but you might also consider it a return to primal instincts. “Ugh, me Tarzan, you Jane, we smoke ribs and drink Zinfandel tonight.”
Over the years we have gathered perfectly intellectual thoughts on the art of enjoying barbecues with wine. Not. It’s really more of a sensory thing – you feel what are the best wines for different barbecues, you don’t think it.Continue »
What happens when a young, curious, forward-thinking, Lodi raised chef, after rigorous training under one of Hawai`i’s most renowned chefs, is given the opportunity to create a menu to match the wines of the Lod Viticultural Area’s Acquiesce Winery?
Summery hot, fun, culinary fireworks, of course!Continue »