Letters from Lodi

An insightful and objective look at viticulture and winemaking from the Lodi
Appellation and the growers and vintners behind these crafts. Told from the
perspective of multi-award winning wine journalist, Randy Caparoso.

Randy Caparoso
April 26, 2014 | Randy Caparoso

For the love of culinary grapes at TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting

ZinFest wine maven

Tapas coming through in Lodi’s Bokisch Vineyards

For the Love of Culinary Grapes

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 and Amigos Society – this Sunday, June 27, 2012 (2-5 PM) in San Francisco’s Goldent Gate Club at The Presidio.

Verdelho in Lodi's Silvaspoon's Vineyards

Verdelho in Lodi’s Silvaspoon’s Vineyards

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 lovers. Especially if you prefer a wine that impresses you by how well it goes with food, rather than by its 100 point score. There are still few red wines in the world that can shock you by the way they drastically alter sensations in the context of food as much as those made from grapes such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Touriga Nacional, and Alvarehão.

Among white wines, Iberian varieties such as Albariño, Verdhelho, Verdejo, and Torrontés are virtually the essence of the food-friendly styles of wine more and more consumers are looking for: lightly tart, light in the mouth, fresh, breezy, and uncloyingly pure — that is, unfettered by extraneous sensory elements such as wood aromas and tannins (if we want to taste wood, we’d chew on toothpicks!).

You may say “big deal,” if you are a wine lover who cares more about how good a wine tastes than how good it is with food. If so, we say more power to you — you wine geek, you — but if you’re like a zillion other wine drinkers who partake of their fermented juice of the grape primarily as part of a meal, then you care very much about the almost magical way in which a Tempranillo can make a slice of rare lamb taste sweeter, and how the taste of lamb in return makes a good Tempranillo taste meatier and lusher. Or how effortlessly the lithe, bone dry, lemon/lime qualities of a Verdelho embellishes the simple taste of grilled shrimp, or a glass cup of lip smacking seviche made from shellfish and tiny cubes of tropical fruit.

“Why does man kill?” Woody Allen once asked. “He kills for food… and not only food… frequently there must be a beverage.” And what better beverage than a wine made from grapes originally cultivated in Spain or Portugal?

Lodi's Stuart Spencer (TAPAS President)

Lodi’s Stuart Spencer (TAPAS President)

TAPAS Kickoff Seminar on Aged Tempranillos

Let an old man come through! It’s now been over 15 years since America’s pioneers of Iberian grapes — namely, Lodi‘s St. Amant Winery, Abacela in Southern Oregon, Twisted Oak in Calaveras, Verdad in the Santa Maria Valley/Edna Valley AVAs, and Bodegas Paso Robles in Paso Robles — first began exploring the potential of the Tempranillo grape in New World terroirs.

At 12-1:30 PM, the 2014 TAPAS celebration will start off with a seminar focused on the comparison of old and new Tempranillos from the same wineries. This will be a panel discussion and tasting of 10 wines produced by the five aforementioned pioneers of American Tempranillo; led by our own Stuart Spencer of St. Amant Winery, who also serves as the President of the TAPAS board committee. Tickets for this seminar are $100 per pair, and can be purchased through the TAPAS Web site.

Tinta Roriz (a.k.a. Tempranillo) in Lodi's Silvaspoons Vineyards

Tinta Roriz (a.k.a. Tempranillo) in Lodi’s Silvaspoons Vineyards

TAPAS Producers of Lodi Grown Wines

Also representing the Lodi Wine Country during the Grand Wine Tasting will be these Lodi based wineries:

The following wineries are based outside of Lodi, but source most of their Iberian grapes from the Lodi AVA:

Finally, these are wineries who source grapes for a few of their Iberian inspired wines from the Lodi AVA:

Hope to see you in San Francisco tomorrow!

All about food in Bokisch Vineyards

All about food in Bokisch Vineyards



Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
Open: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

Lodi Winegrape Commission
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Have a question? Complete our contact form.