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
August 26, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

Tempranillo Day & Vin d’Elegance


The sexy, sumptuous Tempranillo grape (in Ripken Vineyards)

August 31:  Lodi celebrates International Tempranillo Day


Seven Lodi based members of TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers & Amigos Society) are teaming up with four of Downtown Lodi’s finest restaurants to put on an exciting progressive dinner celebrating the first ever International Tempranillo Day on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 (5:15 PM):  7 fantastic Tempranillos matched with 7 platos pequeños (small plates).  The stellar Lodi wineries showing off their Tempranillos will include Alta Mesa, Bokisch, Harney Lane, Jeremy, Riaza, Ripken and St. Amant.

Have you ever tasted good Tempranillo?  If so, you experienced a soulful, sumptuous, mouth-filling red wine, as soft and sensuous as velvet.  Its qualities tend to be more tactile than aromatically delineative, yet typically conjuring sensations of black fruits steeped in earthen spiced liquids; tinged with wispy smoke and licorice, like crinkly brown tobacco leaves if not roasting meats.

And when enjoyed with actual roasting meats and vegetables, the flavors of a good Tempranillo become all the more compelling.  As Jimi Hendrix once said, if I don’t meet you no more in this world, I’ll meet you in the next one… don’t be late!


Lodi’s ode to this magical grape will begin with everyone meeting at 5:15 PM at the Lodi Cellar Door, where you will be greeted by Markus and Liz Bokisch.  From there, the Tempranillo enthusiasts will stroll across the way to School Street Bistro, one of Lodi’s most beloved restaurants, owned by winemaker David Akiyoshi, his wife Trish and her son/chef Will.  After thinking long and hard on the perfect matches for the 2008 Riaza and 2009 Jeremy Tempranillos, Chef Will tells us he will serve up a Mediterranean olive salad with Spanish tomato bread and Serrano ham, followed by medallions of pork tenderloin smoked with wine oak, chorizo Stuffing and braised greens in a blackberry Tempranillo reduction.

The next stop will be Rosewood, Russ and Kathryn Munson’s elegant wine country shrine to American cuisine (lamb lollipops and smoked salmon with caviar!), where you’ll taste and talk Tempranillo with vignerons Ron Silva of Alta Mesa and St. Amant’s Stuart Spencer.  This will be followed by a pilgrimage to Michael Warren’s Crush Kitchen+Bar, where Chef Warren is pulling out all the stops with an “endless summer” salad of watermelon radishes, grilled peach, pancetta and Tempranillo ice, followed by miniature cheesecakes in blackberry balsamic coulis, served to the tune of the award winning 2008 Tempranillos by Ripken and Harney Lane.

Caveat:  seating is very limited, so reserve while you can by calling the Cellar Door at 209.339.4394.  $80 per person, all-inclusive; including a commemorative International Tempranillo Day wine glass.  Don’t be late!

progressive dinner menu 8_11

September 8:
Vin d’Elegance 2011 by Lodi Wine Country & San Francisco Fleet Week Association

Attention, Bay Area Lodi wine and art lovers!  In partnership with the San Francisco Fleet Week Association, Lodi Wine Country is sponsoring Vin d’Elegance 2011, a benefit and consumer wine tasting taking place at the Academy of Art University’s Classic Car Museum in San Francisco, on Thursday, September 8 (6-9:30 PM).

San Francisco Fleet Week Association co-chair Senator Dianne Feinstein and the Board Director George P. Schultz invite you to join them as they unveil a photographic exhibit depicting the heroic efforts of the U.S. military during humanitarian missions throughout the world.  The evening’s atmosphere of elegance will be filled out by many of Lodi’s finest wines matched with Lodi Wine Country cuisine as well as live music.  Proceeds will go directly to the San Francisco Fleet Week’s funds enhancing the military’s disaster response capabilities.

2011 marks the 30th Anniversary of San Francisco Fleet Week, which hosts over 8,000 of our men and women in uniform each year.  Another upcoming highlight to plan for will be Lodi’s 3rd Annual Treasure Island WineFest; taking place on San Francisco Bay’s Treasure Island this coming Saturday, October 8, 2011 (1 to 5 PM).  Over 45 of Lodi’s finest producers will be pouring over 200 Lodi AVA grown wines at this amazing annual winefest; set against the stunning backdrop of the Bay Bridge, with the Blue Angels soaring high above in incredible synchronicity, across the blue skies from western edges of San Francisco to the hills above the East Bay.

San Francisco’s Academy of Art University is located at 1849 Washington St. (corner of Van Ness).  Extremely limited tickets ($100 per person) are available by visiting the Vin d’Elegance Web site.  San Francisco Fleet Week Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit education organization.

Participating Lodi wineries will include Cycles Gladiator, d’Art, Jessie’s Grove, LangeTwins, m2 Wines, Michael~David, Peltier Station, Ripken and Stama; their wines donated by Treasure Island Wine Festival Lodi Appellation Vintners.

Blue Angels

Blue Angels at 2010 Treasure Island Winefest



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

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