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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.

Randy Caparoso
 
October 31, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Ancient winemaking, taste of a place, and luscious Zinfandel beef stew

This wood basket press, utilized by Lodi’s McCay Cellars, is of the same basic design used by winemakers for nearly 1500 years

This wood basket press, utilized by Lodi's McCay Cellars, is of the same basic design used by winemakers for nearly 1500 years

There is a memorable story in Cervantes' Don Quixote, told by the character of the faithful Sancho Panza, concerning the great wine connoissurs in his family; particularly, two on his father's side who were once challenged to identify an anonymous wine from a barrel.

The first one brought the wine to the tip of his tongue, and declared the flavor of iron. The second one just needed to pass it under his nose before declaring a stronger flavor of cordovan leather. The owner of the wine protested, however, saying his wine was perfectly clean, with no trace of iron or leather; but later, the men find, at the bottom of the barrel of the wine in question, there was a lost key made of iron attached to a cord of leather.

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Time Posted: Oct 31, 2013 at 3:17 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
October 29, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The mystery of Zinfandel, part 2 – the long strange trip from… somewhere

 

 

Maley Vineyards Zinfandel (west side of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA) with telltale corkscrew-twisting spurs typical of vines grafted to St. George rootstocks

Maley Vineyards Zinfandel (west side of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA) with telltale corkscrew-twisting spurs typical of vines grafted to St. George rootstocks

Continuation from The Mystery of Zinfandel, part 1 - a plot as thick as the wine

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Time Posted: Oct 29, 2013 at 4:22 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
October 23, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The mystery of Zinfandel, part 1: a plot as thick as the wine

Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel; east side of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA

Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel; east side of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA

For the longest time, Zinfandel was known as California's "mystery grape." It has also been long considered an “all-American” varietal; since as far as anyone knew, Zinfandel wasn't grown anywhere else in the world. Make that “all-California,” because virtually all of it is grown in the state of California – and most of that, in the American Viticultural Area of Lodi.

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Time Posted: Oct 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
October 17, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The new Macchia Primitivo — the milder, smoother identical twin of Zinfandel

Maley Vineyards Primitivo in 2013: note long clusters and uniform sized berries

Maley Vineyards Primitivo in 2013: note long clusters and uniform sized berries

Macchia Wines, which produces more single-vineyard Zinfandels than any other winery in Lodi, has just released their first-ever bottling of Primitivo: the 2012 Macchia Lodi Primitivo ($24) – a full bodied yet smooth, mildly tart edged red wine that has something of an "Italian" feel in its bright, upbeat, drink-me-with-food qualities. But like a good Zinfandel, this Primitivo is teeming with sun kissed berryish fruit; tinged with sweet peppercorn spice, and subtle touches of cedarwood-ish oak.

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Time Posted: Oct 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
October 14, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

2013 Zinfandel harvest nearing end, with a little bit of drama

Piles of discarded Zinfandel clusters next to 97-year old Kirschenmann vines

Piles of discarded Zinfandel clusters next to 97-year old Kirschenmann vines

Lodi grows a greater variety of grapes than any other wine region in California, but Zinfandel is still the specialty – the pièce de resistance. Tegan Passalacqua, the grower/winemaker of Turley Wine Cellars, manages his company’s Zinfandel plantings in Lodi, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, as well as Contra Costa and Amador County. So it's safe to say that he's seen a lot, and has a very broad perspective.

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Time Posted: Oct 14, 2013 at 5:50 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
October 8, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s latest Cabernet Sauvignon releases

Gerardo Espinosa of Vinedos Aurora (2013 harvest)

Gerardo Espinosa of Vinedos Aurora (2013 harvest)

Zinfandel, as everyone knows, has always been Lodi's big schtick; which is why it's easy to forget that this American Viticultural Area is easily California's largest grower of grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Lodi, in fact, crushes more Cabernet Sauvignon than Napa and Sonoma combined.

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Time Posted: Oct 8, 2013 at 5:57 PM
Randy Caparoso
 
October 3, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The latest releases of offbeat Zinfandel brands and varietals

Heritage Oak Winery owner/winemaker Tom Hoffman

Heritage Oak Winery owner/winemaker Tom Hoffman

Except for three strategically placed grape leaves, the depiction of the "hot babe" pin-up on the inaugural bottling of the 2012 Zin-Phomaniac Lodi Zinfandel (about $18) leaves little to the imagination. And the back label makes no bones either: The scantily clad bottle tempts you… remove the cork carefully, slowly, your desire building with every twist…

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Time Posted: Oct 3, 2013 at 6:07 PM