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.
Will 2010 be Lodi’s best vintage ever?
September 23, 2010 Lodi Harvest Report Over the past two weeks the night harvesters in Lodi have been busy while you've lain in bed dreaming. White wine grapes have pretty much come off the vine; and at this date, red wine grapes from the warmer sites (generally on Lodi's eastern side) have started to trickle in, although most of the latter will probably be picked between now and the first week of October. You may have heard of the challenging conditions on California's North Coast; sluggishly ripening grapes beset by cold weather, followed by alarming late August temperature spikes of.Continue »
Jim Moore walks the Lodi walk
One of Lodi's singularly most original, and quite possibly most significant (if you dream in Italian) white wines today may be the one made from the Vermentino grape by Jim Moore, owner/winemaker of Italian inspired wines under the Uvaggio label. "Vermentino," says Moore, "is the thinking man's Pinot Grigio." Like Pinot Grigio, it tends to be light, dry and breezy; lemony tart without being puckery. Where Vermentino veers off – as in the 2009 Uvaggio Lodi Vermentino ($13-$14 retail) – is in its multifaceted nose: lavender, thyme and lime blossom fragrances, with undertones of cantaloupe and nuances of wild honey...Continue »
Terroir unleashed at Lodi Art Auction
LODI TERROIR — A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME… Attention shoppers, wine geeks, or anyone who just wants to know more about what the heck they like in a wine (why should geeks have all fun?): at the upcoming Lodi Wine & Art Auction eighteen wineries will present, for your sensory and intellectual pleasure, over twenty barrels of 2008 or 2009 Zinfandels representing single vineyards, as well as the influences of growing conditions associated with the seven official sub-appellations (i.e. AVAs) of Lodi. You, too, can experience the sense of terroir that growers in this historic region – many of...Continue »
American pie: the Lodi Grape Festival
Celebrate the 2010 harvest with us at the Lodi Grape Festival… September 16-19 – When was the last time you've savored true Americana? The annual four-day Lodi Grape Festival has been serving up sky-high slices of it, with sides of Tokay and glasses of teeth staining Zinfandel, continuously since 1934. The first grapefest was a celebration of the previous year's repeal of Prohibition and (since unions were not in fashion then) the quelling of a labor strike during the harvest of '33. Long gone are the mustachioed honorary peace officers, the beauty queen pageantry and grand parades; but still going...Continue »
Van Ruiten recipe for world class zin
In 2009 Hugh Johnson, the internationally esteemed British author of The World Atlas of Wine, was asked by the Wall St. Journal Wine Club to head up a panel of other distinguished judges to select the 12 best wines of the world. Among the 12 chosen by Johnson's panel was the 2007 Van Ruiten Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel. Since it was the only Zinfandel among the final selection, that essentially meant it was their "best Zinfandel in the world." A fluke? A case of perfect celestial alignment? Hmmm. Meanwhile, back at the ranch: this very same Zinfandel came away with...Continue »
Taste Lodi: Van Ruiten Zinfandel
2008 VAN RUITEN FAMILY, LODI OLD VINE ZINFANDEL The taste of an ultimate zin: Begins with a sweet toned, harmoniously composed nose of aromas suggesting blueberry jam, blackberry syrup and vanilla pods, with nary an overripe or raisiny note. On the palate, the luscious, vibrant fruit qualities are couched in a moderately full, giving body — mouth-filling without being hard or stiff — and filled to the brim with slightly smoky, dark roasting coffee bean-like spices. Keebler elf-like meticulousness: Hand picked from the family's oldest, finest, head-trained, own rooted vines, now approaching their 6oth year. These "bush" vines have matured...Continue »