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
February 28, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Winter pruning and speaking the language of grape vines

Late February 2017 pruning of ancient Zinfandel vines (planted in 1889) in Jessie's Grove's Royal Tee Vineyard

It may look quiet, here in the Lodi Viticultural Area at the end of February 2017. But out in the fields, hundreds of the local industry’s most trusted hands are furiously pruning the grape vines before they come out of dormancy, which is typically about this time of year.

Weeks of biblical rains, of course, have delayed the process, which begins as early as November the previous year because, well, there are just so many darned grape vines to attend to...

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Time Posted: Feb 28, 2017 at 1:25 PM Permalink to Winter pruning and speaking the language of grape vines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
February 22, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Majestic Zinfandel in all its guises (including Lodi's true-blue style)

Majestic Lodi icon: Rous Vineyard Zinfandel, planted in 1909, producing a classic, flowery, pure and lush style of the varietal (bottled by Ironstone Vineyards, Macchia Wines and McCay Cellars)

This is Zinfandel Advocates & ProducersZinEx week in San Francisco; which means, a great excuse to talk about one of our favorite subjects: California Zinfandel in all its wonderful, terroir driven varietal guises.

First things first: Lodiour AVA (i.e. American Viticultural Area) – grows a lush, gentle, fruit forward style of Zinfandel; an overall style very much an expression of the region’s sandy loam soils and moderate Mediterranean climate (comparable to St. Helena, Healdsburg or Paso Robles, Calif.), influenced by cool coastal air funneled through a break through the coastal mountains and the adjacent Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta...

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Time Posted: Feb 22, 2017 at 1:30 PM Permalink to Majestic Zinfandel in all its guises (including Lodi's true-blue style) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
February 15, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

LVVR brings prestige style dry sparkling wine production to Lodi

LVVR Sparkling Cellars owner/winemaker Eric Donaldson

We don’t usually talk about traditional Champagne style sparkling wines in our blog because, frankly, the Lodi wine region has never been associated with finer styles of sparkling wine. Until now.

Quietly, with zero fanfare, Lodi’s LVVR Sparkling Cellars opened its tasting room doors to the public this past July 2016; in front of a 6,000-case level production facility tucked behind a big, old wooden door, in the back of the Tuscan Winery Village – located in Lockeford, just east of the City of Lodi....

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Time Posted: Feb 15, 2017 at 4:00 PM Permalink to LVVR brings prestige style dry sparkling wine production to Lodi Permalink
Randy Caparoso
February 9, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

A mountain winery turns Lodi grown Pinotage into its specialty

Mettler family's Lodi grown Arbor Vineyards Pinotage, bottled sa Amorosa Vineyard by Loma Prieta Winery

When Paul and Amy Kemp founded their Loma Prieta Winery in 2003, high up on a 2,600-ft.-high site in Santa Cruz Mountains, they planted what other growers and producers in the region have going: Pinot Noir (mostly), with a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

And then seven years ago the Kemps took a busman’s holiday to South Africa and discovered wines made from the Pinotage grape – a crossing of Vitis vinifera (i.e. European wine grapes) developed in 1925 by South African viticulturist Abraham Izak Perold. Perold thought he was crossing Pinot Noir with Hermitage (a common, if errant, synonym for Syrah), and so he called his new creation Pinotage. In fact, Pinotage is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (just think, it could have been called “Pinotaut”).

Whatever the case may be, according to Ms. Kemp, “Paul fell in love with Pinotage... He got so excited about it, he couldn’t wait to get home to make some of his own. He found two vineyards in California with Pinotage planted, and a few years later (in 2013), he grafted it over our own vineyard (total of 3.5 acres) completely to Pinotage...”

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Time Posted: Feb 9, 2017 at 7:00 AM Permalink to A mountain winery turns Lodi grown Pinotage into its specialty Permalink
Randy Caparoso
February 7, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Is ancient vine Carignan ready for its star turn?

Hey, Carignan (here, in Lodi's Bishofberger Vineyard, planted in 1936), what's your game now, can anybody play?

The black skinned Carignan grape makes a totally delicious red wine of vivid, deep color and effusive fruit expression; usually suggesting black cherry or related sensations, such as strawberry, cranberry, raspberry or rhubarb, and sometimes violet or rose petal-like fragrances.

Red wines made primarily from Carignan tend to be dependably well balanced with moderate tannin and better than average natural acidity; usually embedded in a full, richly textured body (typically in the vicinity of 13.5% to 15% alcohol – no higher or lower, mind you, than today’s average sized Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)...

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Time Posted: Feb 7, 2017 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Is ancient vine Carignan ready for its star turn? Permalink

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