Lodi is predominately a red wine producer with approximately 66% of the acreage dedicated to red varieties. It has long been California’s best kept secret enhancing the fruit in many of the state’s most popular premium varietal wines. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay account for the lion’s share of the acreage; however with over 60 varieties in commercial production Lodi offers a vast portfolio of exciting wines.
The surge in red wine consumption throughout the 1990’s led to extensive plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon particularly along the eastern edge of the Lodi appellation. These relatively new vineyards have reached maturity producing intense well-structured reds with cassis, plum, and black currant flavors. Round silky tannins highlight Lodi Cabernet producing approachable crowd-pleasing wines.
Chardonnay is extensively planted along the western cooler side of the Lodi appellation. These wines can be very diverse ranging from refreshing green apple and citrus flavors to those with riper, more tropical fruit characters.
Petite Sirah is historically a blending variety noted for producing intensely dark tannic wines. Although a part of the local landscape for over a hundred years, varietal Petite Sirah has seen a recent rise in popularity. Local vintners have learned to tame its more rustic qualities to produce vibrant fruit-driven wines with rich spicy blackberry and blueberry flavors.
A relative newcomer, Lodi Syrah has quickly become a more prominent and promising variety for the region. Typically more full-bodied showcasing a broad spectrum of ripe fruit flavors from blueberries to black cherries.
Although relatively insignificant in total acreage, Viognier appears to be ideally suited for the Lodi appellation, and is quickly garnering national acclaim for its delicious wines. Redolent of aromatic flowers, stone fruits, and honeysuckle Lodi Viognier is typically stainless-steel fermented to retain the vibrant fruit flavors and still maintain a creamy refreshing texture.
Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World producing over 40% of California’s premium Zinfandel. Many of the region’s most distinctive wines come from the thousands of acres of “old vines”- some dating back to the 1880’s. Styles range from medium to full-bodied with intense red and black fruit flavors of cherries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Ambitious young winemakers have begun to explore the broad range of varieties originating in similar warm-climate regions of the Mediterranean. Spanish, Italian, Southern France, and even Portuguese varieties are seeing growing interest and are producing some of the regions most exciting and expressive wines.