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.
One of the finest Zinfandels made in California today is one that even the most devoted Zinfandel lovers never heard of: made by Mikami Vineyards, sourced from a 15-acre vineyard owned by Jason Mikami, located on the west side of Lodi’s historic Mokelumne River AVA. Mr. Mikami grew up on the family farm in the seventies and eighties, but branched out on his own as an adult – establishing a successful career in the tech industry (particularly in Interactive television and cloud computing). He now lives in the Bay Area, but maintains the same Sargent Rd. vineyard property originally purchased by his parents, Jim and Aiko Mikami, in 1963.
The vineyard, however, is a legacy that will always remain in the family; and the Mikami Vineyards Zinfandel (produced since 2009), according to Mikami, is something that he is conscious of doing “in honor my father and grandfather… something that would make them proud...”Continue »
Lodi Wine Country’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend (our 16th Annual!) is nigh upon us, this coming February 9 & 10, 2013! To get the our juices flowing, this past January 9 Camron King, Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, invited eight influential members of the Northern California media to an intimate dinner in San Francisco’s Naked Kitchen – an underground eatery of sorts, housed in a classic Valencia St. Victorian, where chefs and artists gather for periodic exchanges of nourishing ideas.
For this particular occasion, Mr. King asked Joshua Oakley – one of the Bay Area’s more talented underground chefs (having no permanent brick-and-mortar home, Chef Oakley’s Tango & Stache cooking company simply pops up, like a culinary Robin Hood, or the proverbial Underdog) – to execute this challenge: a dinner around Naked Kitchen’s dining room table (which seats only 12 comfortably) consisting of five courses, all made with chocolate as a core ingredient, each course matched to a Lodi grown wine (or two)...Continue »
This past December, Tegan Passalacqua – the winemaker/vineyard manager of the prestigious Turley Wine Cellars (a Napa Valley based Zinfandel specialist, also sourcing several wines from Lodi) – took an afternoon to talk and walk through the Lodi vineyards he will be highlighting in a special tasting taking place in San Francisco this coming February 1, 2013, as part of the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) yearly celebration of the Zinfandel grape.
Mr. Passalacqua is also one of the founding minds behind the Historic Vineyard Society, which endeavors to chronicle and encourage the preservation of heritage plantingss (defined by HVS as any vineyard planted prior to 1960) throughout the state of California. As part of ZAP’s February 1 FLIGHTS/Forums of Flavor (taking place at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill), HVS will be presenting four Zinfandels from historic vineyards in Lodi, and another four each from Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Mendocino County...Continue »
The adventurous spirit of California’s Rhône Rangers, an unofficial movement that began to spark just over 30 years ago, still lives on here and there, seemingly everywhere you look: particularly at Hux Vineyards, one of Lodi’s little-wineries-that-could.
The 3.5-acre Hux Vineyards, established just south of the town of Lodi by Dave and Barbara Huecksteadt some 15 years ago, consists of only a couple rows each of a surprising variety of grapes, primarily of Mediterranean origin: Roussanne and Grenache Blanc among the white wine grapes; and among the reds, Mourvèdre, Souzão, Tempranillo, Teroldego, a little bit of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, and the extremely rare, virtually unheard-of Marzemino (see past blogpost, Many wines other than Zinfandel at 2012 ZinFest)...Continue »