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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
 
December 30, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Best Lodi Wine Country photos of 2013 (part 1)

August 21: Borra's 2013 Kerner harvest

August 21: Borra's 2013 Kerner harvest

Out of the thousands of photos we take of Lodi Wine Country each year, we do have our favorites: photos that express the vivid realness, sense of family and heritage, the heroism, and sheer joy of Lodi grown wines, vines, and good times. Part 1 of our favorite photos of 2013...

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Time Posted: Dec 30, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
December 27, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The 10 most interesting blogs of 2013

Late December 2013: just-pruned old vine Zinfandel on Lodi’s west side

Late December 2013: just-pruned old vine Zinfandel on Lodi's west side

What are the lodiwine.com blogposts from the past twelve months that we love best? Those would be the ones that explain exactly what makes Lodi AVA grown wines different from wines grown elsewhere in the world. Make no mistake: with more than 80 bonded wineries in Lodi today (more than twice as much as just ten years ago), we are seeing more handcrafted, premium quality wines with Lodi on the label than ever before. As a result, we are also starting to see more wines distinguished by sensory qualities unique to this American Viticultural Area — something that went largely unnoticed...

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Time Posted: Dec 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
December 20, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The Ripken family’s “road less travelled” Christmas

The Ripken family (from left): Ryan Ripken; Nathan Lee Ripken; Emily Kolber Ripken; Reuben Jonah Ripken; Simon Oliver Kolber; Madelyn Ripken Kolber; Sadie Violet Kolber; Ben Kolber; Simon Oliver Kolver; Susan Ripken; Matthew Hurst; Nancy and Richard Ripken

The Ripken family (from left): Ryan Ripken; Nathan Lee Ripken; Emily Kolber Ripken; Reuben Jonah Ripken; Simon Oliver Kolber; Madelyn Ripken Kolber; Sadie Violet Kolber; Ben Kolber; Simon Oliver Kolver; Susan Ripken; Matthew Hurst; Nancy and Richard Ripken

Ripken Vineyards & Winery – one of Lodi's largest and most important growers – actually became a bonded winery because owner Richard "Rip" Ripken loved to play Santa Claus every year. According to Rip's daughter, winemaker Susan Ripken, "My dad would go around during Christmas time and play Santa by handing out the wine we were making on the side to anyone he could think of. Eventually we realized we were above our legally permitted gallons, and we needed to become a bonded winery before the government hauled my dad off to jail!" The Ripken family has their own holiday...

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Time Posted: Dec 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
December 18, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Choosing Lodi’s top Zinfandels by style, not someone else’s opinion

Recent gathering of top Lodi Zinfandel specialists at Mohr-Fry Ranch: (from left) Layne Montgomery (m2); Stuart Spencer (St. Amant); Bruce Fry (Mohr-Fry); Joe Maley (Maley Brothers); Jerry Fry (Mohr-Fry); Mike McCay (McCay Cellars); Tim Holdener (Macchia); Ryan Sherman (Fields Family); Chad Joseph (Harney Lane, Maley Brothers, and other wineries)

Recent gathering of top Lodi Zinfandel specialists at Mohr-Fry Ranch: (from left) Layne Montgomery (m2); Stuart Spencer (St. Amant); Bruce Fry (Mohr-Fry); Joe Maley (Maley Brothers); Jerry Fry (Mohr-Fry); Mike McCay (McCay Cellars); Tim Holdener (Macchia); Ryan Sherman (Fields Family); Chad Joseph (Harney Lane, Maley Brothers, and other wineries)

It's the same for all wine regions that become known for certain wines… be it Napa Valley for Cabernet Sauvignon; Sonoma, Santa Barbara or Willamette Valley for Pinot Noir; or Lodi for Zinfandel: choosing what is "best" becomes more a matter of personal taste or preference. In other words, don't believe numerical scores or "expert" ratings — that's just nonsense. A 95-point wine may be the worst tasting wine to you; whereas a wine that scores "just" 88 might be absolute perfection to your taste. It's a process (and a fun one!), but you have to figure what's best for...

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Randy Caparoso
 
December 16, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Italian Christmas traditions with Sorelle’s Scott family

The Scott/Caporusso clan: Joanne, Melissa, Emma (Melissa’s baby with husband Garret Ulmer), Kim and Mike

The Scott/Caporusso clan: Joanne, Melissa, Emma (Melissa’s baby with husband Garret Ulmer), Kim and Mike

For the Scott family, who own and operate Sorelle Winery – one of Lodi's most successful wineries in recent years – family is everything, and that's the way they celebrate the Christmas season as well. The Sorelle estate is located on the site of the original plantation home built by Jonathan Dodge Holt in 1866, which the Scotts are in the process of lovingly restoring. George West, who founded El Pinal Winery in the 1860s, helped Holt plant grapes on his farm; but by the time Mike Scott bought the property in 2007, the original plantings were long gone. And...

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Time Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
December 12, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Why Petite Sirah kills with drunken pot roast (with peppercorns and juniper)

Juniper berries and peppercorns

Juniper berries and peppercorns

We're on a roll, so we're going to continue our culinary ruminations on Lodi grown wines. A lot of wine lovers are not so partial to Petite Sirah in warm months, and who can blame them? Red wines made from Petite Sirah – a grape technically known as Durif (named for the French scientist who crossed Syrah and Peloursin grapes to develop his namesake variety at the end of the nineteenth century) – are pretty much the opposite of "light" or "breezy." Not the easy-going type of wine normally associated with summer. Red wines made from Petite Sirah, in fact,...

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Time Posted: Dec 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
December 10, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Cold weather culinary partners – Tempranillo and saffroned lamb shanks

Saffron threads

Saffron threads

As cold weather continues to drive us into the kitchen, now is as good a time as any to talk about one of the most culinary wines of all: red wines made from the Tempranillo grape. There's something about Tempranillo — its earthy subtlety combined with rich flavors and supple texturing — that makes a wine lover hungry, especially for earthy, stewy, slow cooked, cozy, cold weather foods. Tempranillo is the major black skinned grape of Spain, where it's been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Consequently, in its native Spain, it has evolved into a multiplicity of clones, and became...

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Time Posted: Dec 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
December 4, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Reliving Merlot, classic chicken paprika, and Maya’s passionate talk in Sideways

Hungarian Paprika

Hungarian Paprika

Days are shorter, darker, gloomier. So it's always something of a relief that the holidays are also upon us: we're cheered colorful, twinkling lights, sounds like the opening notes of Jingle Bell Rock, smells of cooking spices emanating from the kitchen, and the rich, velvety taste of a good red wine. Especially Merlot. That is, red wines made from a grape that, just 10-15 years ago, looked liked it was well on its way to becoming America's favorite varietal wine. But somewhere along the line the popularity of Merlot ebbed; even if, today, Merlot remains America's fourth most popular varietal...

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Time Posted: Dec 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM