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.
Lodi’s 2011 Wine & Chocolate Weekend was two days of bliss for the approximately 4,500 people enjoying the the gifts bestowed by Mother Nature (crystal blue skies, sleeveless temperatures) and the forty Lodi wineries pulling out all the stops to engage and entertain couples, friends and families alike, while neatly clipped spurs of ancient vine Zinfandels lay grazing in the grass of winter’s recent rains. Epitomizing the hospitality rarely found in other wine regions, during the entire two days The Lucas Winery’s winemaker/proprietor David Lucas stood at the barn sized door of his tasting room to make a point of..Continue »
Matching chocolates with dry red wines… “Chocolates made for wines,” says Linda Bartlett of Truffle Gateau, “are more like cheese pairings… soft like Brie, and never too sweet.” When Barlett founded her Sacramento based confectionery, she made it her goal to create the “finest wine-pairing chocolates in the world,” developing recipes using natural ingredients like Callebaut Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, Peet’s espresso coffee, and Southern pecans. Today over 300 wineries in California and Oregon sell Bartlett’s “Truffle G’s” with their wines. Bartlett will personally be on hand to offer her sumptuous chocolate & wine matches at The Lodi Wine &..Continue »
Oh, Lodi wine… oh, decadent chocolates… oh, sublime seductions! The Lodi Wine & Chocolate weekend is well nigh upon us, and the big challenge will be planning your day of vinous and culinary debauchery because, well, there’s only so much stimulation a body can take. And so to help you out the following is a rundown on what many of the participating wineries will be offering on both days. Gotta luv it! Here you go… Abundance Vineyards: Big Booty Bob and Bacio Dolce Manager Stefanie Shaw and her tasting room staff will offer an assortment of chocolates to go with..Continue »
The newly arrived Sorelle Winery is fashioning some of Lodi’s most exquisite wines… Lodi’s verdant farmlands and vineyards stretch southwards all the way into Stockton zip codes; and one of the region’s newest, brightest, and (already!) multi-award winning stars is Sorelle Winery, located on Hwy. 88 near the Calaveras River, at the southeast corner of the Mokelumne River AVA, just south of Eight Mile Rd. Sorelle is Italian for “sisters,” and in this case, there are two of them involved: Kim Scott, and her younger sibling, Melissa. But there is a man behind the women: it is their father, Mike..Continue »
7,500 people can’t be wrong. Either that, or they don’t wanna be right: about loving red wines made from Zinfandel and attending three days of events dedicated to the grape at the twentieth annual Zinfandel Festival put on by ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) in San Francisco this past January 27-29. First off, where do you fit that many wine lovers, plus all those vintners representing the 200-plus wineries showing off their stuff? ZAP’s Grand Tasting last Saturday took place in two football field sized pavilions, sitting side-by-side in Fort Mason, on the Bay looking directly at Alcatraz. Even so,..Continue »
Starting off big, ending up small
In the classic old Westerns, when a small town finds itself plagued by gangs of bad hombres, they find themselves a gunslinger — someone fast on the draw, eagle-eyed with a rifle, smart as a whip, and with a heart of gold even if a little cantankerous or occasionally hooked on the bottle.
Everything except the cantankerous and gunslinging parts describes Chad Joseph. Mr. Joseph is hooked on bottles, but more as Lodi's most respected consulting winemaker than as an intemperate imbiber...Continue »
In Northern Italy, the Barbera grape produces reds many consider to be the ultimate “food wines.” Sometimes this moniker is code for thin-and-boring-when-drunk-by-itself, but not in this case: anyone who has experienced top drawer Barbera from the Piemonte region knows what a dense, viscerally moving experience it can be. These are soulful, blood red wines usually stuffed with aromas and flavors of red (raspberry, cherry, cranberry) and/or black fruits (like blackberry without the jamminess of, say, Zinfandel), with handsome tertiary qualities suggesting charred red meat and/or soft, expensive Italian leather. It is the taste of Barbera on the palate, however,..Continue »
m2’s Layne Montgomery knows the agony of ecstasy… Winemakers, we are sure you’ve been told, are half scientists/half artists. Not true. At least a quarter of every winemaker also needs to be a philosopher: as much as the profession requires a belief system of some degree of mental, or spiritual, stability. How else do you survive the stress of each vintage, when your fate is put into the hands of something completely out of your control: the forces of nature, the weather gods, Lance Randolph’s red shorts, or… whatever. Then, presuming most of your grapes come into the winery reasonably..Continue »
If there’s one thing Lodi does very, very well, it’s red wines made from “alternative” grapes that are also extraordinarily rich, concentrated, and unique. Red wines that appeal to jaded palates looking for things other than the usual Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Wines that fulfill deep seated longings for ultra-dark and thick red wine sensations, but not made from Syrah or Petite Sirah either. This is what Michael~David Winery’s Inkblot program is all about. First, the name says it all: these are wines selected because they are so black, purplish, and wonderful that you not only want to write.Continue »
Earlier this month, 66 highly discriminating wine professionals and distinguished members of the wine media met to judge a staggering 5,050 wines as part of the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Although this is an annual judging of American wines, the vast majority of the Chronicle’s entries each year come from California, each vying to “out-competition” the other. Individual wines made from Lodi grown grapes earned 2 Best of Class distinctions (the absolute highest rated wines of their categories, notwithstanding price), 2 Double Gold medals (meaning, the entire group of judges, with no naysayers, voted to award a gold..Continue »