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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
 
July 26, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

LangeTwins Family’s all-in commitment to exciting Italian varietals

LangeTwins Family winemakers David  Akiyoshi and Karen Birmingham with co-owner Randy Lange

Lodi’s LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards is going Italian!

Never mind the fact that the Langes are descended from Germans: Johann and Maria Lange, who settled in the Lodi region and began farming crops like watermelons during the 1870s.

The Lange family’s first vineyard was established by 1916; although it was the fourth generation twins, Brad and Randy Lange, who first decided to go into the wine grape growing business big time, back in 1974. Today, a fifth generation of Langes – Marissa, Aaron, Phillip, Kendra and Joe – is deeply involved in all aspects of the winegrowing, wine production, marketing and sales of the brand, with still another generation on the way...

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Time Posted: Jul 26, 2018 at 6:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
July 23, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Mike McCay and Harney Lane’s Kyle Lerner share their prognosis of 2018 Lodi Zinfandel

Riot of vivid colors in Zinfandel just beginning 2018 veraison in Harney Lane Winery's Scottsdale Vineyard

How are Lodi’s vaunted old vine Zinfandel vineyards shaping up so far, as of the third week of July 2018?

As warm as the weather this past month has seemed, so far 2018 has not been an especially “warm” vintage in the overall scheme of things. In fact, according to Harney Lane Winery & Vineyards owner/grower Kyle Lerner, “We are tracking as a cooler than average this year.”

Normally – or at least during the past seven years – at this time of year Lodi’s old vine Zinfandels are well into a stage called veraison: from the French word (véraison) for “change of color of grape berries.” Grapes visibly change their hues from a monochromatic green to a blaze of bright colors, from purplish blues to black-ish reds...

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Time Posted: Jul 23, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
July 20, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Grass Valley’s Sierra Starr excels in Lodi Chardonnay (and conversation with Harney Lane’s Kyle Lerner)

Estate grown Chardonnay in Harney Lane Vineyards, mid-July 2018

In a conversation this past week, Harney Lane Winery & Vineyards owner/grower Kyle Lerner lamented the challenge of being a Chardonnay lover these days. Says Lerner: “You go to a grocery store to pick out a bottle, and never know what you’re going to get. It could be a light, lean, stainless steel style of Chardonnay, or it could be a big, fat, fruity, butter bomb style.”

There is nothing, however, that Lerner likes more than a challenge. And so for his own bottlings of Harney Lane Chardonnay, he (with his vaunted winemaker, Chad Joseph) endeavors to produce a wine with, literally, “everything” in it. Explains Lerner: “We take the traditional approach – 100% barrel fermented, a touch of oak, sur lies aging (i.e. contact with spent yeast cells) and partial malolactic fermentation (i.e. conversion of sharper malic acid to softer lactic acid) – but it still has the acid and fresh fruit components that satisfy consumers that prefer a crisper, balanced style...”

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Time Posted: Jul 20, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
July 19, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Mikami's Lodi grown wines combine restraint, intensity and over 100 years of winegrowing experience

This past week in Lodi's Mikami Vineyards: multi-sized Zinfandel berries in midst of July veraison (i.e. changing of colors)

When is the last time you’ve had a darned good rosé made from Zinfandel? Not a typically tutti-fruity White Zinfandel, mind you. But rather, a bone-dry, full and fleshy, reddish pink rosé that is just as deep and meaty as it is bouncy and opulent with watermelon/black cherry/blueberryish fruit, tinged with a sprinkle of cinnamon/spice.

Chances are, you haven’t had a wine like this because, for some reason, Zinfandel specialists (even in Lodi) seem to be extremely reluctant to make seriously dry pink wines from Zinfandel, even though the grape is perfectly capable of that.

And chances are, you haven’t yet experienced the 2017 Mikami Vineyards Lodi Rosé ($29), grown and farmed by the same family with roots embedded deep in Lodi soil for well over 100 years...

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Time Posted: Jul 19, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
July 9, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Pop-up restaurant dinners come to Lodi wine country!

Pop-up dinner at R&G Family Farms' Bing cherry orchard

“Welcome to our family’s first ‘Evening In the Orchard!’” exclaimed Drew Rotner, co-owner of R&G Family Farms, to a table of 24 Lodi wine and food lovers set in the shade of 29-year-old Bing cherry trees.

For the event, the Rotner and Gotelli families collaborated with three extraordinarily talented chefs with Lodi backgrounds, now working as independent contractors in the modern day tradition known as “pop-up restaurants.” Pop-ups are more like restaurants with no walls: Chefs put together gourmet meals, usually very adventurous multi-course affairs, and invite “friends” to sit down and enjoy. For a set fee, of course. It can take place in the rented space of a warehouse, an old Victorian, a penthouse or professional catering kitchen; or maybe in someone’s backyard, the middle of a desert or top of a remote, forested hill. Or in this case, this past Saturday (July 7, 2018), the pop-up happened in the middle of a Lodi Bing cherry orchard planted in 1989 by Gotelli family...

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Time Posted: Jul 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
July 5, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Paskett’s summer releases reflect abiding respect for regional history and sense of place

Herb Paskett; modern day pioneering grower of Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (photo by Goff Photography)

Since opening their tasting room doors just this past Thanksgiving weekend (2017), Paskett Vineyards & Winery’s reputation as an artisanal estate has grown steadily.

This past June 30, 2018, about 45 friends, family and winery club members came together to taste Paskett’s latest summer releases, under the shade of stately trees that (once upon a time) were part of the historic Langford Colony – a 320-acre showcase ranch farmed by Benjamin F. Langford, known as the “Father of the California State Senate,” where he served between 1879 and 1900...

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Time Posted: Jul 5, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 29, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Premiumization of Lodi grapes and wines addressed at 2018 Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics Symposium

The historic Bechthold Vineyard; Lodi's oldest continuously farmed planting (Cinsaut planted in 1886)

Lodi needs to actively fight against commoditization and move more decisively towards premiumization,” said Jeff Bitter, the recently appointed President of Allied Grape Growers; yesterday afternoon at the 2018 Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics Symposium, taking place at Wine & Roses Hotel in front of an audience consisting primarily of Lodi wine grape growers and producers...

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Time Posted: Jun 29, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 27, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Do women drink wine differently from men? (Lodi gold medals at International Women’s Wine Competition)

LangeTwins Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc in mid-June 2018

Last week, the International Women’s Wine Competition announced the results of their 2018 (and 11th Annual) judging, which took place June 19-20 in Sonoma County, California. More than 1,190 wines were reportedly entered in this judging; and out of that, 171 gold medals were awarded, along with 56 “Best of Class” winners.

Among the Lodi grown wines produced by Lodi based wineries garnering golds:

• 2017 Acquiesce, Lodi Picpoul Blanc ($28)
• 2017 Acquiesce, Lodi Grenache Rosé ($25)
• 2015 Mettler Family, Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon ($25)
• 2017 Sand Point, Lodi Sauvignon Blanc ($12) 

In addition to a gold, Sand Point's Sauvignon blanc – grown and produced by Lodi’s LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards – was also distinguished by a Best of Class award...

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Time Posted: Jun 27, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 21, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Bokisch's Lodi grown wines making a huge splash in Hawaii

Exotic fermented honeydew with nasturtiums served at Club Kukui'ula with Bokisch's Garnacha Blanca

The Lodi grown wines of Bokisch Vineyards – predominantly made from grapes that originated in Spain – have been sold in the Hawaiian Islands for over ten years. But in a way, it is mostly within the past two years that they have really begun to make a huge splash.

Why? We suspect for the same reasons why Bokisch Vineyards wines have been selling out faster and faster right here in Lodi: Because more and more consumers are gravitating to lighter, crisper, fresh fruit (and less oak) focused styles of white wines and dry rosés; and are also going more for red wines that are unabashedly fragrant and spice scented, with less emphasis on tannin, excess alcohol and (as in whites and rosés) oak...

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Time Posted: Jun 21, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
June 14, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

The Zen of barbecue: Michael David’s Petite Sirahs and two ways of baby back ribs

Lodi's Mike McCay (winemaker/owner, McCay Cellars) smoking his dry rubbed baby back ribs

The summer of 2018 is upon us (starting June 21st!), and you can almost hear the squeaky sound of grills being wheeled out into backyard patios in preparation for that season of all seasons for the outdoorsy, culinary minded: Barbecue!

Barbecue is like Zen, in that (to borrow an analogy from zen-buddhism.net) when trying to describe the taste of barbecue to someone who has never tasted it, you can try to explain the aromas and sensations of it, or you can compare and correlate it with similar foods. However, barbecue is barbecue... when you live it, you know it!

And what we know is that barbecue is not the same kind of food you prepare indoors, in your kitchen. Barbecue means foods with smoky or even charred and caramelized flavors. Maybe it’s the caveman in all of us, but for some reason that taste sensation gets the mind, and palate, salivating. And like cavemen, we frequently need a good beverage; perhaps beer or iced tea, but preferably a good, zingy wine of a certain type...

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Time Posted: Jun 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM