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
 
May 24, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Winemakers and journalists taste and talk about aged Lodi wines, up to 27 years old

Zinfandel from Turley's 2010 Dogtown Vineyard harvest, going into a bottling tasted and discussed this past week, nearly 14 years later.

Last week (May 14, 2024) a most unusual Lodi tasting (even for us!) was conducted, per the request of four visiting journalists representing Wine Enthusiast magazine: Tonya Pitts (Contributor, Wine Reviewer), Anna Christina Cabrales (Tasting Director), Sara Ventiera (Senior Digital Editor) and Anthony Eyzaguirre (West Coast Advertising Account Manager).

We tasted 14 Lodi-grown wines from vintages going back as far as 1997 (coming up on 27 years old).

The visiting editors were curious about two things: 1) do Lodi wines age well?, and 2) if so, how?

  Continue »

Time Posted: May 24, 2024 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Winemakers and journalists taste and talk about aged Lodi wines, up to 27 years old Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
May 20, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Wines reflecting Vino Farms' push towards organic, biodynamic farming and grapes conducive to Lodi's natural environment

Vino Farms' The Bench Vineyard; biodynamically farmed Vermentino alongside the Mokelumne River in Lodi's Clements Hills AVA.

Since 2018, Vino Farms has been farming a good chunk of its 4,500 or so acres in the Lodi appellation in multiple fashions falling under the broader umbrella that can be described as sustainable.

This past week, when presenting his family's showcase sustainable vineyard⏤a Clements Hills-Lodi AVA property called Grand Vin Lands⏤Vino Farms VP/Partner Craig Ledbetter told a group of visiting journalists from Wine Enthusiast Magazine... 

  Continue »

Time Posted: May 20, 2024 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Wines reflecting Vino Farms' push towards organic, biodynamic farming and grapes conducive to Lodi's natural environment Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
May 17, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

LangeTwins Family's newly released Redtail Vineyard is based upon an exciting, potentially groundbreaking grape called Ancellotta

Ancellotta, a native Italian grape grown in LangeTwins Family's Redtail Vineyard, Jahant-Lodi AVA.

LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards has done it again. This industry leading family winery and winegrower has just released a red wine joining their Single Vineyard portfolio of sustainably farmed, estate grown wines. It is a sensational blend of Nero d'Avola (33%), Zinfandel (33%), and a grape called Ancellotta (34%).

Zinfandel, everyone knows. Nero d'Avola is a Southern Italian grape finding increasing favor among a growing number of vintners up and down the state, and many American consumers are already fans of Nero d'Avola bottlings imported from Sicily.

But Ancellotta? This is a black-skinned grape that is practically unknown, even among professionals working in the trade (including the most studious sommeliers), media and production industries. Even if you happen to be a wine geek who has read about the grape in texts or books, in all likelihood you still have no idea of how it looks or the way it grows in a vineyard, much less what kind of wine it produces...

  Continue »

Time Posted: May 17, 2024 at 6:00 AM Permalink to LangeTwins Family's newly released Redtail Vineyard is based upon an exciting, potentially groundbreaking grape called Ancellotta Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
May 13, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

The latest wines sourced from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards fulfill a heroic story of an exotic grape obsession

Among the multiple clones of Riesling cultivated in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards.

The heroic tale

Let's talk about the continuing saga—and it really is a story of heroic proportions—of the Lodi appellation's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards.

First, a summary of the story up until today: It started when a serious grape bug took an extra-big bite out of Bob Koth, a Lodi educator and grape farmer, in the early 1990s when he and his wife Mary Lou Koth visited Germany where their daughter Ann-Marie was studying on a Fulbright scholarship. After tasting a number of outstanding German wines, they found a new obsession.

Soon after returning home to Lodi, the Koths removed the blocks of Flame Tokay and Zinfandel cultivated on their property, tucked into an oxbow-corner of the Mokelumne River, on the east side of the appellation of that same name. Within a few years, the old plantings were replaced by what grew to be no less than over 50 different cultivars of German as well as Austrian origin...

  Continue »

Time Posted: May 13, 2024 at 8:00 AM Permalink to The latest wines sourced from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards fulfill a heroic story of an exotic grape obsession Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
May 8, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Monte Rio's Patrick Cappiello gets things off his chest while producing an astounding range of Lodi grown wines

Monte Rio Cellars owner/winemaker Patrick Cappiello. Leigh-Ann Beverley.

This past mid-December I was walking along a beach in Hawaii, toes squishing along in wet silky sand, when the phone in my board shorts rang. It was Patrick Cappiello, owner/winemaker of Monte Rio Cellars, a Sonoma County-based brand that has been making quite a name for itself for naturalistic style wine—most of it sourced from either super-old vines or regeneratively or biodynamic farmed grapes here in Lodi.

Monte Rio, Cappiello called to say, was reaching an impasse. The brand was satisfactorily established in key markets, and the wines better and more mulitfaceted than ever. But for whatever reason—primarily, no doubt, because of an overall market malaise—sales had recently stagnated. Monte Rio seemed to be fulfilling an old industry adage, that is is a lot easier to make great wine than it is to sell it...

  Continue »

Time Posted: May 8, 2024 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Monte Rio's Patrick Cappiello gets things off his chest while producing an astounding range of Lodi grown wines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
May 1, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Nero d'Avola is a poster child for today's taste for zestier, lighter weight yet deeply flavorful reds

Nero d'Avola in LangeTwins Family's Redtail Vineyard in the Jahant AVA of Lodi.

One of California winemaker Randall Grahm’s favorite ways of referring to the under-appreciated wine grapes of the world is "ugly ducklings." Or, if you prefer a more esoteric word, "heterodoxical." That is, unorthodox or contrarian to the point of making a point.  

The point of Nero d'Avola is that it is one of those grapes that challenges the presumed orthodoxy of today's hierarchy of varietals considered to be the "greatest" in the world: starting with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay—the “king” and “queen” of wine grapes—as well as Pinot noir, Merlot and Sauvignon blanc, among the rest of the current aristocracy...

  Continue »

Time Posted: May 1, 2024 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Nero d'Avola is a poster child for today's taste for zestier, lighter weight yet deeply flavorful reds Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
April 25, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Albariño—the state of one of Lodi's most important varietal whites

Silvaspoons Vineyards owner/grower Ron Silva with his Alvarinho, a Portuguese clonal variant of Albariño.

Why Albariño is such a natural in Lodi

Albariño—a grape variety native to Spain's Rías Baixas region, also grown in the neighboring Vinho Verde region of Portugal—is by no means the most important white wine cultivar in California. Not when there is over 126 times more Chardonnay cultivated in the state.

Yet among the wineries based in California's Lodi appellation, Albariño has emerged as one of the most important of white wine varieties. There are more producers of Albariño in Lodi than there are brands of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio (a.k.a., Pinot Gris). 

Lodi, in fact, grows and produces more than a third of all the Albariño in California (see the USDA's most recent statistics below). So just in this sense, this varietal has become the appellation's signature white wine.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Apr 25, 2024 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Albariño—the state of one of Lodi's most important varietal whites Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
April 22, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

LODI RULES is a viticultural celebration of Earth Day all year round

The first Earth Day

Today, April 22, marks Earth Day all around the world. 

Did you know that the first Earth Day was touched off by activists mobilized in California, following an oil spill off of Santa Barbara in January of 1969? President Richard Nixon came to Santa Barbara the following March and spoke to a gathering crowd, saying "... the Santa Barbara incident has frankly touched the conscience of the American people" (see sbearthday.com)... 

  Continue »

Time Posted: Apr 22, 2024 at 8:00 AM Permalink to LODI RULES is a viticultural celebration of Earth Day all year round Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
April 17, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 2, pain and controversy

Contrasting Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards: (Top) high cordon machine pruned trellis on single wire in Jahant-Lodi AVA; (bottom) vertical shoot position trellising (usually cultivated by hand) in Rutherford-Napa Valley.

Continued from previous post: Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 1, history, terroir, rebellion

Pain and controversy wrought by push to go beyond varietal sameness

When many (if not most) Americans think of "California wine," they still think of Napa Valley, even though Napa Valley produces only 4% of California wines (re Capstone California). Non-Californians still have problems finding places like Lodi (which produces 20.5% of California wines), Lake County or Paso Robles on a map. For all they know, Santa Lucia Highlands is located north of the Bay and Anderson Valley is south of it...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Apr 17, 2024 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 2, pain and controversy Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
April 15, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 1, history, terroir, rebellion

Harney Lane Vineyards Zinfandel sources (from top): Home Ranch, Scottsdale Vineyard and Lizzy James Vineyard.

First, let's taste three different Lodi Zinfandels, all made by the same local winery, Harney Lane Vineyards:

• The 2020 Harney Lane "Home Ranch" Zinfandel ($32) is almost an essence of what many people love about Zinfandel—round, plumpish yet bouncy on the palate, with velvety flavors, almost plush in their softness, signaled by exuberant aromas of chocolaty fresh berries and a touch of strawberry. "Friendliness" personified...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Apr 15, 2024 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 1, history, terroir, rebellion Permalink
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.