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.
Delicious winemaker obsessions over “odd” grapes and blends
An heirloom vine grows in Lodi
What is it with winemakers and their “odd” varieties and blends? Well, as Robert Mondavi always used to say, winemaking is as much an art as it is a science; and if there’s even a speck of truth to that statement, we have to expect something coming out of left field from some of our more artistic winemakers every once in a while.
Sometimes they produce a wine that is as outlandishly good as it is unusual, and it ends up getting picked out of over a thousand other white wines for an honor like “Best of Show White” in a big-time event like the California State Fair; which is the story of the 2011 Kenneth Volk Silvaspoons Vineyards Alta Mesa Torrontés ($24), grown right here in Lodi by Ron Silva...Continue »
Mohr-Fry’s celebrated Alicante Bouschet may soon be kicking up daisies, not gold medals
One of the Lodi AVA’s most venerated plantings – Mohr-Fry Ranches’ twelve and a half acres of Alicante Bouschet, which originally went into the ground in 1921 – may not be long for this world, which would be a tragic turn of events...Continue »
Lodi’s best-of-the-best wines at the 2012 California State Fair
Lodi grown wines garnered their share California State Fair awards, announced earlier this week. That’s impressive, considering that there were 2,890 wines, made by 688 wineries, submitted for sober adjudication by 72 distinguished wine judges.
2,156 of these wines earned medals; but more importantly, a handful of Lodi grown wines that garnered top top honors at the State Fair. Especially this one – grown by Lodi’s Portuguese grape king, Ron Silva, up there in Galt – which was named best white wine period (“better” than over a 1,000 other white wines, of every type and in every category, entered into the State Fair) by the persnickety judges...Continue »
The soul of a winegrower in Lodi’s Twisted Roots
When Ross Schmiedt talks about wine quality, family and sustainability – something he does all the time, with inspiring ebullience, even from the confines of his wheelchair (in recent years Mr. Schmiedt has been impaired by ALS) – you quickly realize that in his mind, all three things are one and the same...Continue »
Going mad about saffron & Iberian grapes at the TAPAS Grand Tasting
46 wineries and growers presented cutting-edge wines made from grapes of Spanish or Portuguese origin at the 5th annual TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers & Amigos Society) Grand Wine Tasting in San Francisco’s Fort Mason this past Saturday, June 9.
Yet one could argue that the biggest hit at this year’s TAPAS showcase was not a wine or winemaker, but a dish: the sumptuous, golden paella made by Lodi’s own Addy’s Paella, which has to be tasted to be believed: saffron infused rice (utilizing authentic arroz from Spain), shrimp, chicken, Lockeford sausage, and the most pungent, garlicky aioli made west of Madrid...Continue »
Forlorn Hope’s pure style of Torrontés & Alvarelhão
While Lodi is known for its wine grape productivity – as such, the largest single American Viticultural Area in the U.S. – it has also become known as a source of many a cutting-edge grape. You name it, at least some of it is grown here: from Alicante Bouschet, Bastardo and Carmine, to Trincadeira, Vermentino, Zweigelt, and some 70 other odd varieties in between.
Many of the gigantic wineries, like E. & J. Gallo and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, utilize lesser known varieties in their blending programs. On the opposite end of the scale are the micro-sized producers who actually produce varietal wines from underappreciated grapes...Continue »
TAPAS & Albariño, for all the right (culinary) reasons
The gastronomic grape
Do you enjoy alternative style wines veering off from the usual heavy handed, ripe or oaky style typical of “California” wine? Then you should seriously consider attending the Grand Wine Tasting sponsored by TAPAS – that is, the Tempranillo Advocates Producers & Amigos Society – this coming Saturday, June 19, 2012 in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center; and where, needless to say, a number of Lodi’s top producers will be pouring.Continue »
Phenomenal 2010 Zinfandels, current & upcoming
Since fall of 2010, Lodi’s leading Zinfandel specialists have been saying that 2010 is the best vintage in recent memory. Now that a few of these wines are out in the market, it’s time to ask the hard question: is 2010 truly a “vintage year” for Lodi Zinfandel, or are some people just blowing smoke?Continue »