The Lodi Life & Times
In Lodi, wine comes first. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Meet the passionate people behind our handcrafted wines and
gnarly old vines.
Is there such a thing as a “classic” Lodi Zinfandel? Good question, because in many cases, the style of a winemaker or winery certainly does trump sensory qualities often associated with vineyard sites. Michael~David’s Earthquake Zinfandel, for example, has become somewhat iconic: consistently black as night, big in alcohol, muscular in tannin, and yes, as strongly oaked (pungent vanillin/smoky aromas and flavors) as they are in richly ripened, jammy mixes of black and red berry fruitiness. At the almost opposite end of the scale, Michael~David’s 7 Deadly Zins is usually fairly light and soft, lower in tannin and oak,..Continue »
Who is that gaucho, amigo, why is he standing there in your spangled leather poncho? Suddenly Lodi has a shiny new wine producing specialist in town; although not totally “new,” because he’s been nursing wine grapes here since the late nineties, at the far western edge of Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA, where the Mokelumne River flows from the Sierra Foothills through rolling, idyllic 400-600 ft. hills topped with alluvial soils on clay loams. Nevertheless, the just released 2008 Dancing Fox Old Father Vine Clements Hills Tempranillo ($25) represents winemaker/proprietor Gregg Lewis first varietal bottling of this grape; and in a..Continue »
A dozen or so years ago a wine/foodie contrarian named Willie Gluckstern came out with a ridiculously cheap (in a good way) $12 book called The Wine Avenger, guaranteeing that you can “become a wine/food genius in one hour.” This was actually an exaggeration: it would probably take a person of reasonable intelligence and functioning eyesight less than 30 minutes to “get” Gluckstern’s basic, on-the-money, plainly spoken premise, neatly summarized in this illustration from Gluckstern’s book: “First, do no harm,” Gluckstern writes, about selecting the best wine for a dish. “Food amplifies everything in a wine. That mean lighter wines..Continue »
Lodi’s customary cutting edge… Lodi is so far out ahead in many aspects of winegrowing, most folks aren’t even aware of it. Most wine “experts” don’t know either — otherwise, you’d be reading about it in more places. Perfect example: The 2006 Akin Estates, Christesen Vineyard Reserve Tannat — a red wine so bodaciously full, rich and meaty, you can practically eat it with a spoon while savoring its smoky, viscous flavors, redolent of fleshy plums, bing cherry and blackberry, with smidgens of sexy leather and dusty loam. Tannat, we say? Think of a black skinned grape that produces a..Continue »
Winner, winner, chicken dinner, says Charlie Sheen. This month, however, members of the Lodi Wine Club have outsheened The Sheen, for they’ve reaped an assortment of five wines that demonstrate the absolute best, the latest, and the most innovative aspects of Lodi viticulture and winemaking. Five tiger blood winners! Please check out our notes on this month’s selection below; for even if you’re not a Lodi Wine Club member, each of these wines are well worth the search, and are available individually either at the respective wineries, your nearest specialty retailer, or at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center tasting..Continue »
The goal when producing their Lodi grown Pinot Noir, bottled under the Hybrid by Peltier Station label, according to winemaker JC van Staden, was “to make a good wine, not necessarily a Pinot Noir.” Okay, input scrambled, brain freeze… then you swirl, sniff and sip the 2008 Hybrid Lodi Pinot Noir once again, and the inside-information starts to seep in more sensibly: a velvety smooth, plump, pliant, softly delicious burgundian colored wine, but even more amusing in its presumptuousness — a hugely aromatic nose, at once sweetly strawberryish in a perfumed sense, with a smoky richness, nuanced with red rose..Continue »
Six bottled reasons why wineries outside Lodi are craving Lodi grown grapes… Lodi has long been known as a Paradise for wine grapes; the biggest chunk of that traditionally going to large production wineries, or else anonymously into the varietal wines and blends of many an ultra-premium winery (I once heard an industry consultant in the know comment on how many Napa Valley, Sonoma or Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Zinfandels and even Pinot Noirs have been greatly enhanced by judicious doses of Lodi grown wines like Petite Sirah and Syrah). In recent years, more and more producers of great renown..Continue »
The Kautz Family’s Ironstone Vineyards continues to lead Lodi into the future… Why pay more for a perfectly delicious bottle of wine than you have to? Part and parcel of Lodi’s dramatic emergence as an ultra-premium quality winegrowing region since the turn of the millennium has been the fulfillment of that question. Today Lodi wines not only deliver quality, they overdeliver for the price; and it all starts in the vineyard… Fact #1: Lodi is California’s single largest producer of Vitis vinifera — grapes belonging to the European family of classic wine grapes — simply because these grapes thrive in..Continue »