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.
1. Exceptional value, a byproduct of sourcing from the country's largest winegrowing region.
2. Fruit-forward qualities, which are byproducts of the region's steady Mediterranean climate and largely sandy loam soils (at least half of Lodi's grapes grown in alluvium laid down over thousands of years in the Mokelumne River watershed).
"Fruit-forward" gives any wine a huge leg up when it comes to Thanksgiving. Of course, we are talking mostly about the grand old tradition of turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry, buttery mashed potatoes and vegetable casseroles—the gustatory cacophony of foods, enjoyed with cherished family and friends, that we Americans look forward to each year...Continue »
Today, November 17, is National Zinfandel Day.
Every day, of course, is a good day for Zinfandel in Lodi. There are more acres of Zinfandel in the Lodi appellation than in any other region in California, and Lodi crushes over 40% of the state's production each year.
Why Lodi? Because Lodi's Mediterranean climate, with its consistently bright, warm days and cool nights all through the growing season, is naturally conducive to Zinfandel. The grape loves the Lodi sun!Continue »
The term "aroma" is pretty much self-evident: It is the smell of wine derived from grapes.
In an older, snobbier or geekier interpretation, aroma used to be distinguished from "bouquet"—the latter term, meant to distinguish smells in wine that result from bottle maturation. The vast majority of consumers buy a bottle of wine in the afternoon and drink it that night. They could give a hoot about "bouquet."
Therefore, in actual practice, aroma is used to describe any smell originating from grapes used to produce wines. These are smells resulting from the fermentation process, which also evolve after a little bit of time in a bottle...Continue »
Minerality as a trending taste in American wines
Minerality—or the suggestion or outright expression of mineral or earth-related attributes in wine—is an elusive taste, as are all of the more subtle perceptions of wine.
If anything, the use of the term "minerality," bandied about more and more each year, represents a recent shift in consumer tastes, particularly among American wine lovers. When I first visited Germany over 25 years ago, seemingly every German winemaker described their wines as combinations of fruits, flowers and minerals. Minerality was a common expression because the taste of minerals is commonly associated with Rieslings grown in German vineyards; and the Germans love to talk about how each vineyard, especially those grown on the steepest, rockiest riverside slopes, imparts its own variation of a taste suggesting minerals...Continue »
It's hard to believe that as self-evident it may seem to many wine lovers, there are actually many professionals in the wine industry, and even educational institutions, who do not believe terroir exists, or that it is important in the business of wine production or wine appreciation as it exists today.
Let's start with the premise that there is such a thing as terroir, and then afterwards, touch a little upon the perspectives of naysayers...Continue »
As in the past, the 2022 Lodi Tour of Tempranillo will be a no-reservations-required, complimentary drive-around event. This year, 10 Lodi wineries will be opening their doors to offer special tastings, many of them with multi-bottling flights, Spanish inspired food bites and weekend-only-discounts (see some of the details for each winery at the end). All you need do is show up and say, ¡olé!Continue »
"There's something happening here" has been a line copped from the 56-year-old Buffalo Springfield song, For What It's Worth—even the young folks know this tune because of its iconic opening chord progressions of electric and acoustic guitars—by the Lodi Winegrape Commission to bring attention to the "revolutionary" side of the historic Lodi winegrowing region.
The Lodi AVA, to sum it all up, is all about grapes. Lots of grapes. Far more acreage than any other wine region in the U.S.; and on top of that, more variety of grapes than any other region...Continue »
Next week, October 25, 2022, is the day: The day when Jeff and John Perlego release their first ever wines under their Perlegos Family Wine label.
The Perlegos brothers are second generation Lodi growers of proud Greek heritage. They are also widely known for their meticulous, quality-focused farming practices, developing something of a cult reputation among small, artisanal "cool kid" wineries who have been sourcing their grapes over the past ten years.
For their own long awaited wines, the Perlegos branding is focused and straightforward. As they put it, "Mediterranean inspired, California grown..."Continue »
Among the many wine grapes commercially grown in Lodi—over 125 of them, at last count—there is one that has has remained an obscurity in the region and throughout California, despite its supremacy in its native Italy.
We're talking about Nebbiolo, the major grape of the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. All evidence points to the long held belief that the grape is indigenous to this region. Roman scribes were writing about about the great red wines of this area 2,000 years ago, describing wines that are almost exactly like the wines now grown and bottled by the names of Piedmont's highest ranked zones: particularly Barolo (often called the "King of Wines, Wine of Kings"), Barbaresco, and Gattinara...Continue »
Monte Rio Cellars declares red blend from Lodi's regeneratively farmed Teresi Vineyard to be its finest wine yet
What does a career sommelier-turned-winemaker see in Lodi? Evidently, lots.
In 2017, Monte Rio Cellars owner/winemaker Patrick Cappiello "fled" (in his words) a perfectly good, 25-year, multi-award winning restaurant career in New York City after the closing of Rebelle, for which he served as operating partner and wine director.
Mr. Cappiello began his next phase in California; first, by working under Pax Wines' Pax Mahle, a talented winemaker with a 20-year track record and personal philosophy for which Cappiello felt, as he puts it, "a kismet connection." Adds Cappiello, "I never looked back..."Continue »