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.
“Happy families,” wrote Tolstoy, “are all alike, and every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Or are they? As it’s also often said, we don’t get to choose our families, but to a large extent, we can certainly control the circumstances under which we see them. Especially for Thanksgiving, which is all about everyone returning to the nest.
One thing we also know about families: not all of them have the same taste. Not everyone, for instance, digs turkey. In a prior blogpost, A Lodi wine country Thanksgiving, we furnished a treatise on the ideal wines for many of the variations of turkey we love. But what if your idea of Thanksgiving is, as illustrated by yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle piece called Crab makes you forget turkey on Thanksgiving, is some kind of fruits de mers (fish or shellfish), or roast beef, leg of lamb, baked ham, wild boar or shotgunned game birds?Continue »
Let your turkey guide your wine choices, and one Lodi family’s Thanksgiving menu and secret family recipe for potato rolls…
The turkey is one of our greatest comfort foods. When we were kids we simply traced our fingers to draw them. It has also remained as all-American a culinary delicacy as any: as ubiquitous as it may seem to us, it’s never caught on in other countries, even in Europe (because they used to confuse native Americans with Indians from India, the French still call it coq d’Inde, the “cock of India” – how twisted is that?).Continue »
Russ and Melinda Fields (and their three kids) and their partner/winemakers at Lodi’s Fields Family Wines, Ryan and Jalynn Sherman (with their two kids), celebrate Thanksgiving in the usual tradition. But the during the weekend after, according to Ryan, the families and their friends get together to commence their “post-holiday throw-down.”
The Fields and Sherman families share a passion for cooking, which goes hand in hand with the passion for grapegrowing and winemaking they have shared since their first meeting of like minds in 2004.
According to Ryan, “Russ has an extremely extensive garden with too many things to even count, along with a chicken coop (another understatement – I call it the Chicken Four Seasons). He normally whips up several items from the vegetable garden, and I make a killer braised beef short ribs in Lodi zin (ours, of course) with a rich side of mashed potatoes.”Continue »
Who doesn’t love a great sweet wine? Your Aunt Gladys and Uncle Boyd, your brother the wine geek, your sister the foodie, mom who loves everything and dad who always proclaims “I know what I like” but still can never remember what he had last week: they all love the wines winemakers probably work the hardest on which, incidentally, always taste great with dessert.Continue »
The goods: A compelling array of orange blossom, rose petal, tropical flowers (jasmine and frangipani) and honeysuckle perfumes tease the nose; and then totally deliver on the palate: feathery light(10.3% alcohol) and modestly sweet (4.8% residual sugar) sensations, with the airy crispness of lemon cookies and a tingly touch of effervescence (what the Italians would call frizzante).
Price & provenance: $12; grown primarily in Lodi from grapes of Muscat Canelli (46%), Muscat Orange (46%) and Gewürztraminer (8%)Continue »
Have you heard about one of Lodi’s newer “boutique” wineries: Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi?
We kid you not, since April Fool’s is in April, not November. If you’re planning to cover the Lodi winefront during THE FIRST SIP weekend this coming November 13-14, it might be a good idea to set aside a few minutes to visit the giant Woodbridge winery (yes, it’s built to process a quarter of what Lodi grows, and over 8 million cases of wine each year) and taste their lineup of boutique style wines (no more than 200 cases of each) made from decidedly cutting-edge grapes like Vermentino, Verdelho, Malvasia and Marsanne.Continue »