TOP

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.

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 connoisseurs 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.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 31, 2013 at 3:17 PM Permalink to Ancient winemaking, taste of a place, and luscious Zinfandel beef stew Permalink
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

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 29, 2013 at 4:22 PM Permalink to The mystery of Zinfandel, part 2 – the long strange trip from… somewhere Permalink
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.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM Permalink to The mystery of Zinfandel, part 1: a plot as thick as the wine Permalink
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.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM Permalink to The new Macchia Primitivo — the milder, smoother identical twin of Zinfandel Permalink
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.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 14, 2013 at 5:50 PM Permalink to 2013 Zinfandel harvest nearing end, with a little bit of drama Permalink
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.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 8, 2013 at 5:57 PM Permalink to Lodi’s latest Cabernet Sauvignon releases Permalink
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…

  Continue »

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2013 at 6:07 PM Permalink to The latest releases of offbeat Zinfandel brands and varietals Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 25, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s Mediterranean identity reflected by huge diversity of grapes

Alicante Bouschet, September 2013: Lodi still cultivates blocks of this unusual wine grape, whose heyday was the first half of the last century

Alicante Bouschet, September 2013: Lodi still cultivates blocks of this unusual wine grape, whose heyday was the first half of the last century

Harvest is a great time of year for photographing wine grapes, which become the most identifiable by their colors, shapes and overall morphology during that fleeting window just before they are picked...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Sep 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM Permalink to Lodi’s Mediterranean identity reflected by huge diversity of grapes Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 19, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

What an influential wine blogger thinks of Lodi wines

Alicante Bouschet, September 2013: Lodi still cultivates blocks of this unusual wine grape, whose heyday was the first half of the last century

Elaine “Hawk Wakawaka” Brown, iPhone in hand, gets up close and personal with Silvaspoons Vineyards Torrontes grapes grown by Ron Silva (right) in Lodi’s Alta Mesa AVA

Elaine Brown, a.k.a. Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews, is a wine blogger, journalist, photographer and inveterate illustrator with a moderate yet rapidly growing, significant following. How significant? Somehow her observations, as she travels up and down the West Coast wine regions and (occasionally) the Old Country, always seem to pop up in places like Eric Asimov's New York Times wine articles, or in Jon Bonné's San Francisco Chronicle pieces. Brown, in other words, is influencing the influencers… messin' with the messers...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Sep 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM Permalink to What an influential wine blogger thinks of Lodi wines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 18, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Abba Vineyard turns sunlight into Syrah perfection

Stunning Lodi Wine Country sight: Abba Vineyard Syrah hanging from meticulous Smart-Henry trellis, like brilliant Christmas bulbs on a tree.

Stunning Lodi Wine Country sight: Abba Vineyard Syrah hanging from meticulous Smart-Henry trellis, like brilliant Christmas bulbs on a tree.

Last week Friday (September 13, 2013) Michael McCay of Lodi's vaunted McCay Cellars picked his Grenache from Abba Vineyard – owned by second-generation Lodi farmer Louis Abba Jr., and farmed by his son Phil Abba. Mr. McCay's excitement is palpable – not only because his supply has increased, but also because 2013 looks to be "our best Grenache yet… the fruit was perfect, just popping with flavor coming right off the vine..."

  Continue »

Time Posted: Sep 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM Permalink to Abba Vineyard turns sunlight into Syrah perfection Permalink Comments for Abba Vineyard turns sunlight into Syrah perfection Comments (1)
Contact

Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
209.365.0621
Open: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

Lodi Winegrape Commission
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
209.367.4727
Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Have a question? Complete our contact form.