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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
 
November 21, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

Why Lodi's Cinsaut may be the single finest wine for Thanksgiving tables

Are you ready for a 100 millionth article on wines for Thanksgiving? We like to think ours is special because, well, we recommend Lodi-grown wines. Which tends to mean two different things:

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...

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Time Posted: Nov 21, 2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Why Lodi's Cinsaut may be the single finest wine for Thanksgiving tables Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 17, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

Marking National Zinfandel Day with a history of the grape in Lodi

Zinfandel harvested from a 1940s block along the Mokelumne River in Lodi's Clements Hills appellation.

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!

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Time Posted: Nov 17, 2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Marking National Zinfandel Day with a history of the grape in Lodi Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 15, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

A definition of wine aromas

 Vivid images typically triggered by the scent of peppercorns, even in wine: pepper grinders in a restaurant, peppercorn salmon from the grill, wines made from the Grenache grape, or a culinary experience in an exotic place in Southeast Asia.

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... 

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Time Posted: Nov 15, 2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to A definition of wine aromas Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 10, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

A definition of minerality in wines

Haarmeyer Wine Cellars owner/winemaker Craig Haarmeyer showing his love for Chenin blanc, a grape picked with high enough acidity in Lodi's Borden Ranch appellation to produce a dry white that is light and crisp with citrus and mineral sensations.

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...

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Time Posted: Nov 10, 2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to A definition of minerality in wines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 3, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

A practical definition of terroir

Süss Vineyard, a small architecture, 90-plus-year-old, gobelet trained, own-rooted vine grown in the low-vigor sandy soil of Lodi's Clements Hills AVA, producing a distinctively fragrant, notably high acid style of Zinfandel unique to the appellation.

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...

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Time Posted: Nov 3, 2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to A practical definition of terroir Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 1, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

2022 Lodi Tour of Tempranillo, the varietal's history and what makes Lodi's style so unique

Spanish selection of Tempranillo grown in Bokisch's Las Cerezas Vineyard in Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.

Prepare thyself for Lodi's annual Tour of Tempranillo; 2022's iteration taking place the weekend of November 12-13, timed to follow International Tempranillo Day (November 10, 2022).

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!

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Time Posted: Nov 1, 2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to 2022 Lodi Tour of Tempranillo, the varietal's history and what makes Lodi's style so unique Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 26, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

Napa-based winemaking couple behind Found Wine Co. explain why they source Lodi grapes

Found Wine Co. owner/winemakers Andy Butler and Mabel Ojeda after collecting 2022 Mission grape samples in Lodi's Somers Vineyard.

"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...

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Time Posted: Oct 26, 2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Napa-based winemaking couple behind Found Wine Co. explain why they source Lodi grapes Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 21, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

The Perlegos Family debuts wines fulfilling Lodi's natural Mediterranean identity

Jeff and John Perlegos harvesting their 2022 Cherryhouse Vineyard Zinfandel on the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River appellation.

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..."

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Time Posted: Oct 21, 2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to The Perlegos Family debuts wines fulfilling Lodi's natural Mediterranean identity Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 18, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

A long overlooked Italian grape—Nebbiolo—has found its place in Lodi hillsides

Anaya Vineyards Clements Hills-Lodi Nebbiolo in the light of harvest morning.

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...

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Time Posted: Oct 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM Permalink to A long overlooked Italian grape—Nebbiolo—has found its place in Lodi hillsides Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 14, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

Monte Rio Cellars declares red blend from Lodi's regeneratively farmed Teresi Vineyard to be its finest wine yet

Monte Rio Cellars owner/grower Patrick Cappiello (left) with associate winemaker Jesus Aleman during 2022 harvest.

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..."

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Time Posted: Oct 14, 2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Monte Rio Cellars declares red blend from Lodi's regeneratively farmed Teresi Vineyard to be its finest wine yet 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

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