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.
There is strength and perseverance in Lodi faces — borne out of long hours under the sun, or when pinched by wintry chill — as well as wisdom and the signs of sheer joy that that are part and parcel of the Delta‘s main industry: wine grapes.
In 2012 the Lodi American Viticultural Area took another giant leap in the world of fine wine, topped off by a harvest that may have been the region’s best ever: grapes ripening under perfect, trouble-free conditions, and in sufficient enough quantities to allow prolonged, steady maturation (during years when yields are cut short by poor spring sets or spotty autumn weather, grapes tend to ripen either too rapidly or not at all)...Continue »
Part 2 of our autumn paen to Zinfandel (starting with Lodi Zinfandel's transitioning styles and food moxie):
In 1991, some 600 of Lodi’s grape growers came together to form the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission (since shortened to Lodi Winegrape Commission). At that point in time, according to the Commission’s former Executive Director, Mark Chandler, “The trade and consumers viewed Lodi as a jug wine region, despite the fact that even then we were the largest producer of premium quality wine grapes in the state, which we still are.”
Today wine bottles bearing the Lodi appellation are seen on retail shelves and fine dining restaurant wine lists across the nation, and it is no longer a surprise when Lodi wines win double-golds and even “Best of Show” accolades in tasting competitions involving thousands of wines from other American wine regions...Continue »
As we approach the end of another auspicious year in Lodi‘s wine country, it is as good a time as any to revisit the first half of 2012 with some of our favorite images of the people who are making this American Viticultural Area what it is: one of the most exciting (no longer just one of the most prolific) winegrowing regions in the world...Continue »
Another First Sip in Lodi has come and gone! There were some memorable moments, during this annual harvest celebration this past November 12-13, when wine lovers can go around visiting over 40 of Lodi’s finest vignerons and taste unbottled samples of their latest vintages — including just picked 2011s. Born and raised here in the Delta, Dee Yates of Dee Yates Photography has always had a keen eye and natural feel for Lodi’s wine country. Below is a photographic accounting by Ms. Yates, mixed in with shots taken by lodiwine.com (Yates’ artistic expessions identified by her signature). Good times at…..Continue »
This is the first of three consecutive parts of an autumn paen to Zinfandel. That is, Lodi‘s special Zinfandels…
Not too long ago, when people said “Zinfandel,” they usually meant something pink and sweet. But those days are gone; and aside from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, virtually no winery in Lodi makes a (now) old fashioned, fruity White Zinfandel. Zinfandel is back to being a red wine, period.
The styles of Zinfandel, however, have undergone a few transitions since the White Zinfandel craze. Before Zinfandel became pink, varietal bottlings of red Zinfandel tended to be fairly light, soft in tannin, and fairly zesty with prickly acidity. 13% alcohol was considered “big,” and the grape was associated with traditional producers of the day, like Louis Martini and Sebastiani...Continue »
“We are not very exciting when it comes to Thanksgiving,” says David Phillips, co-owner and president of Lodi’s Michael David Winery.
Instead, what Mr. Phillips does – together with his wife Corene, and two sons Connor and Joseph – is wake up early every Thanksgiving morning, and hit the pavement in the Run and Walk Against Hunger in Downtown Stockton, benefitting the Stockton/San Joaquin Emergency Food Bank. Par for the course for a family who also enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and competing in triathlons together.
Then after this year’s Thanksgiving run, they will go home and prepare a $700 turkey...Continue »
“All happy families are alike,” wrote Tolstoy. In this day and age, even the happiest and closest knit of families end up varying their Thanksgiving celebrations – that’s just the way it is, even in Lodi wine country...Continue »
For the past eight years, the compelling quality of m2 Wines has been all the impetus Lodi wine lovers have needed to beat a path to winemaker/proprietor Layne Montgomery’s unadorned warehouse/winery, on the far eastern side of town along Turner Rd.
Nonetheless, Montgomery thinks it’s high time that he makes a move into a “real winery.” Thus, Montgomery and his original group of partners and investors have announced plans to break ground – as early as this December, if weather and permitting goes well – for a new m2 estate on a triangular 17 acre site south of Peltier Rd., just west of Hwy. 99 along the railroad tracks...Continue »
‘Tis the season to give thanks and praise for everything we are fortunate to be blessed with in our lives: family, friends, a caring community, and — especially for Lodi — the generosity of the 2012 wine grape harvest (a truly rare combination of exceptional quality and crop size)...Continue »