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 29, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

New pre-ZinFest event! Blind tasting comparing Lodi wines with best of the world

Renowned wine educator/writer Deborah Parker Wong, who will help lead our ZinFest blind tastiing

2017 Pre-ZinFest Blind Tasting: How do Lodi Wines Compare to the Best In the World?​

Lodi grapes and wines are... pretty darned good these days.

We like to think they’re special – having those pure, lush, ringing, smooth qualities very much in synch with the tastes of many of today’s consumers. And the variety of Lodi grown wines – ooh la la, so much more than the usual litany of varietal labels (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, etc.) grown on the West Coast.

But exactly how do Lodi wines compare with comparable wines from other regions of the world, such as France, Spain, South Africa, or nearby Sonoma County? Are they lighter or heavier? Softer or rougher? Earthier or fruitier?

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Randy Caparoso
April 26, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Pop-quiz on Lodi's industry leading diversity of grapes

Extremely rare Marzemino grapes grown by Lodi's Barbara Huecksteadt (Hux Vineyards)

How well do you know your wine grapes? To take a measure of your knowledge, we invite you to take the little quiz below, which gives us an excuse to show off photos of some of the more unusual grapes grown in Lodi.

The Lodi Viticultural Area, in fact, is the place to be if you are a student of wine, making a concerted effort to bolster you knowledge of wine grapes. Why? Beause there are over 100 variations of Vitis vinifera – the classic cultivars of the European family of grapes – grown out here in the Delta. Easily the most in the U.S. (for a full list and pictorial, see the 100 Grapes of Lodi)...

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Randy Caparoso
April 20, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

How Lodi producers have been answering the question: What is good wine?

Lodi wine lovers

Exactly what is good wine?

That is to say: Why, in a store, is one wine rated 95 points out of 100, and another wine just 89 points? Is there a difference in quality that would matter to you? Is an extra 5 or 6 points even worth an extra $5 or $6, or another $50 or $150 for one measly bottle?

We have parsed the vagaries of 100-point rating systems elsewhere in this blog (re Discovering your own taste beyond 100-point scores). But if you are still scratching your head over the definition of “good wine,” it might comfort you to know that even wine professionals still puzzle, or strongly disagree, over this simple question...

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Randy Caparoso
April 17, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Peltier’s Susana Rodriguez Vasquez brings new dimensions to Sauvignon Blanc and Lodi's winemaker community

Peltier Winery & Vineyards winemaker Susana Rodriguez Vasquez

As much as we harp on the intrinsic ecological advantages of the Lodi Viticultural Area, there is also a growing number of “star” winemakers playing a crucial role in the region’s growth.

True-blue Lodi wine lovers are familiar with some of the bigger names among our winemaking talents.

We turn your attention to a newer, brightly shining “star” winemaker who, so far, has been quietly working under the radar since joining Peltier Winery & Vineyards a little less than a year ago: Susana Rodriguez Vasquez, who calls herself Susy...

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Randy Caparoso
April 12, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Does Lodi Albariño age (or does it matter)?

Nine-vintage vertical of Bokisch's iconic Terra Alta Vineyard Albariño

Does a white wine like Albariño age? Does it really matter?

Whites like Albariño, after all, are produced to be consumed immediately upon bottling, which is fine by the vast majority of American consumers who pop their bottles within days (more like hours or minutes) upon purchase.

Nonetheless, Markus and Liz Bokisch of Lodi’s Bokisch Vineyards – one of the California pioneers, and indubitably the acknowledged masters, of this Spanish grape – did something unusual, even for them, this past week. They lined up nine of the most recent vintages of Bokisch Albariño – all sourced from their Terra Alta Vineyard in Lodi’s rolling Clements Hills sub-appellation – and tasted them all together...

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Randy Caparoso
April 7, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Legendary Chef Bradley Ogden elevates Lodi's Wine & Roses with a culinary spring fling

Wine & Roses Hotel's Consulting Chef Bradley Ogden

“A Light exists in Spring,” wrote Emily Dickenson, “Not present on the Year, At any other period...”

Although these exact words – expressing the radical changes felt all the way down to the bones when April flowers, and even showers, awaken spirits and senses – may not have been on the minds of the 28 people gathered this past Wednesday (April 5, 2017) in Wine & Roses Hotel’s Towne House Restaurant, our earth did seem to tilt, ever so slightly.

The event was a 6 course/6 wine spring themed celebration prepared by the celebrated Chef Bradley Ogden; where a heady Dickensonian joy was tasted in each nibble and sip, and the sense of clarity, promise and hope often associated with the early days of the vernal equinox permeated the air...

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Randy Caparoso
April 3, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Spring-fresh new releases at Lodi Wine & Food Festival

2017 Lodi Wine & Food Festival in Ole Mettler Grape Pavilion

For 35 years it was the Lodi Spring Wine Show, but now it is the Lodi Wine & Food Festival that takes place each year at the end of March or beginning of April on the grounds of the Lodi Grape Festival.

No matter, because the 2nd Annual Lodi Wine & Food Festival still had the feeling of spring, as it gave many of the participating Lodi wineries a chance to trot out their latest wines – including recently bottled 2016 whites and rosés, which are all vinified pretty much bone-dry (the days of sweet, tutti-fruity “vin rosé” are long gone, and even soda-pop-like White Zinfandel is pooh-poohed by the local vintners of today)...

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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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