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.
“Gala” doesn’t quite describe Artisan Masters’ Lodi Wine & Art Auction that took place in Lodi’s Hutchins Street Square this past Saturday (10/23). How about, say, an extra-sensory, fantastical, phantasmagoric vinous adventure? The eye opening spices and vividly flavorful barrels of ’09 and 2010 Zinfandels presented by twenty of Lodi’s top wineries certainly made many of our tongues skip such a light fandango.
Or, culinary tours de force? “Culinary,” of course, in respect to wines, great food and people coming together to celebrate how far along Lodi wine has come: to a point where we can pinpoint individual sub-regions and vineyard sites, each elucidating terroir related delineations of that most American of American grown grapes – Zinfandel.Continue »
While taking a taco truck break with his pickers last week (first week of October) at Egger Vineyard, a stand of 20 year old head trained Zinfandel vines on the north side of Peltier Rd., Jonathan Wetmore ventured an opinion: “All the wineries have been happy so far with the quality of the 2010 harvest.” This, you must know, is somewhat of an understatement, considering the joyous whooping and hollering we’ve actually been hearing among those in Lodi’s oenological profession.
Then again, Wetmore is first and foremost a farmer — his Round Valley Ranches owns or manages over 2,000 acres in Lodi (including the high profile Jessie’s Grove estate) — and farmers always act like they come from Missouri, the Show-Me State. It ain’t over ’til it’s over, right?… fat ladies singing and all? In the meantime, let the winemakers whistle while they work, high on their yearly fermenting Kool-Aid.
Mr. Wetmore, though, also takes an itty-bitty fraction of those grapes he farms and produces wine under the Grands Amis Winery label with his wife/business partner, Catherine Wetmore, and so he is capable of a little of that winemaker enthusiasm. Okay, maybe just by the teaspoon; because, he tells us, “it’s been one of the toughest years I’ve ever experienced… we’re not used to harvesting so late...”Continue »