Tag Archives: Lodi

#WBC16 Lodi Live Wine Blogging: Red, Red Wines!

20 Aug

Q: NOW, What do you know about Lodi wine?
A1: Holy smokes, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!
A2: It’s NOT all about Zinfandel! (But there is some amazing Zin here!)

Day 2 of #WBC16. Day 1 was so much fun! When we finished Live (White & Rose) Wine Blogging on Thursday, our table concurred: “Let’s sit together again tomorrow!”
Well, when I arrived, not a single soul from Table 11 was back at Table 11. But over a little ways I saw friends waving wildly, holding a seat for me at Table 17! All the gingers in the entire conference sat at ONE table together. (I can say ginger, because I am one. You can’t, unless you are too. Really. Don’t believe me? Ask Tim Minchin- video at the bottom of this post.) Not that everyone else at the table wasn’t absolutely fabulous- they WERE! They ARE! I adore you all! Especially Loie, Anatoli, Jennifer, Jeff, Kirsten, and Bri-  But gingers have a special power… sometimes used for good, sometimes for… evil. Because… well… GINGERS!

So… here’s my side of the table: IMG_0037

That’s me (left), with Michelle (Rockin’ Red Blog), Cathrine (DameWine) and Lori (Dracaena Wines).

With this much red & ginger power, what chance do those ten red wines have?

Here we go, my RED wine speed tasting notes!

 

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The Federalist Lodi Zin 2014 Lovely blend, (a hint of Syrah) nice cinnamon spice, tannins and body. Very well priced at $17.76 street!

 

 

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Windburn’s 2013 Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills Ken Brown, winemaker. Red and Blackberry with nice mineralogy, smooth memories of Burgundy! 

IMG_0040Corner 103’s 2013 Zinfandel: A beautifully feminine Zin, great fruit, manageable acid, tannin & spice. Nice!  

 

 

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Brie Vineyards’ 2012 Old Vine Zin Terrific spice and fruit with chewy mid-palate & great, smooth, sensuous finish. 

 

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2012 Henry’s Blend, a Bordeaux-styled blend, aged in neutral oak. A serious wine that gives France something to worry about!

 

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Peirano Winery’s 2013 Old Vine Zin “The Immortal Zin” Red currants & cherry. Supple without the huge spice some Zins offer. Delicate and pretty, long lasting. Tertiary notes of clay, sand, a smidge of oak,  and… eerily vampiric. Yeah, I went there. Will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses? You know you want to!  

 

 

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2013  Farrah Syrah- Floral nose. Deep purple w/supple fruit. Spicy anise, some forest floor & lovely mouthfeel. Oh, nice minerality on the long finish-$20

 

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Abundance Wine’s 2013 Lodi Carignane. A great example of dichotomy:  Strawberry fruit that presents in a soft and feminine but rich, savory mouthfeel. Damn. Tasting both the cut and the rose, like the goddess Athena just kicked your ass but you loved it!  

 

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2014 OVZ Zin Big, perfumed, jammy fruit. This wine is #1 in CA Zin sales  at the low price of $11/bottle. Rich, bright, just right! Get some- 

and last, but not least:

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Harney Lane’s 2013 Lizzy James Old Vine Zin Dark cherries, lush flavor w/ rich, supple beauty. Magnificent!

Check out the historic, gnarled trunks and vines that demand hand harvesting, the killer fruit, the loamy sand terroir.

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Ok. I’m not done talking about Harney Lane’s Lizzy James Vineyard Zinfandel. I know Twitter capped my tweet, but that won’t stop me here. This wine is so good, it’s frightening. But I’m not really a fan of Zin. Here’s the deal: I won’t drink a decent zinfandel -there are so many great other choices than any ‘meh’ wine- But I love to drink a terrific zinfandel, and this one is mesmerizing. I’ve had amazing wines from Lodi before- Michael David’s Earthquake comes to mind first, but this wine rocked my world again and again, and I kept going back to it at the end of each day to ask “Was (Lizzie James) really among the best wines I tasted all day?” And the answer was always Yes. This wine is beyond special. Lizzy James is EPIC. Don’t know the flavor of Bramble? Wanted a wine that reminds you of fruit cobbler on the finish? Want something to have your entire dinner table ask you WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUS WINE? Seriously: pick this up, savor it for three days, and you can email me a thank you later. <Mic Drop>

Now, about these tasting notes…you might think I moved these wines around in order, but the order I shared them is actually the order they were presented to our table. While the Lizzy James Zinfandel was the last in our red wine speed tasting, I actually tasted this wine on four separate days at WBC16. It was one of several shining stars of the trip, but not the only great wine from this winery, nor the only great zinfandel from Lodi. But most importantly, over the course of the trip, this wine came to represent all of Lodi for me. Because until you spend some time in Lodi with their wines and winemakers, you might write them off as “zin producers”, just like if you don’t really know wine, you might think that Santa Barbara is “just a pinot producer”, or Napa is “just a cabernet” producer. No, no, no! They are SO much more!

Lodi is a unique AVA in the USA, with mediterranean weather and wind patterns, about 60 miles from the Pacific ocean and with sand-rich, desert soil. The winemakers are as unique as the AVAs, and their passion to grow brilliant and tasty fruit results in stunning wines: Spanish grape clones, Rhône grape clones, French grape clones,  German grape clones, Austrian grape clones! You name it, they are growing it in Lodi.

With as many grapes as they are growing, (over 100 varietals) I tasted many, so very many wines that showed intense flavor, terrific winemaking and amazing quality. Because it all starts with tremendous fruit, and intense passion to make the best wine you can make from the finest fruit you can grow.

And they are doing it here, every day, all over Lodi. So get on it, or miss out and feel like a fool.

à votre santé!

Oh, you thought I forgot about calling me ginger, didn’t you? Well I didn’t.

Check out Tim Minchin’s ode to the word ginger in his opus, “Prejudice”. Enjoy!

 

Boneshaker Zin: Trick and Treat!

8 Oct

Boneshaker Zinfandel 2012; Hahn Family Winery, Lodi California. Retail $19.99; street price approx $16/bottle. 15% ABV. 

The first days of fall. It’s the time of year when I finally start drinking red wines again after finishing out the ‘indian’ summer stock I have left. Early fall requires you to transition back to cooler weather and look for solutions (activities, clothing, and yes, even wine) that can handle both hot and cold, chilly fall breezes while you break a sweat under the hazy afternoon sun.

Syrah and red zinfandels are ideal choices right now, but the one wine that has topped them for me is my trick and your treat: Boneshaker Zinfandel from Lodi, CA.

Deep purple color with violet edging, the nose is a jammy boysenberry. On the tongue: black plum, blackberry, and cassis bursts through the palate leaving residual heat in its wake (15%ABV). Slowly you revel in cacao and spice box on the finish, as the tannins unexpectedly slide into home plate leaving your mouth aching for another sip. 

This is the perfect fall wine to drink from late afternoon watching the sun turn clouds into pinkish orange cotton candy, and to pair up later in the evening with fall chili or those spicy BBQ ribs you’ve been jonesing for.

What could be better for All Hallow’s Eve? Nothing but Boneshaker.

The label, a retro industrial negative design of wrought iron, early bikes and split chain links, provokes the essence of early leather-clad riders on motorcycles, and the barn where you made out in the hayloft as a precocious teenager. Turn the light off, and watch it emit an eerie green glow in the dark. Just enough trouble, and too much fun.

Lodi, you keep me guessing with surprise after great surprise. Well done, and Happy Halloween!

Boneshaker

à votre santé!

From Lodi, with Love

7 Oct

Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Michael David Winery, Lodi, CA. List $26, as low as $20 online.  ABV 15%.

My neighbor Lori has family in Lodi. She and her husband Gary pick up a case of wine from Lodi every now and again and lucky me, we share a pour over the fence that separates our cozy New York City “backyards”. Tonight Lori treated me to Earthquake ’11 Cabernet Sauvignon. I have enjoyed Michael David’s popular 7 Deadly Zins, and  Earthquake Zin (before Robert Parker awarded Earthquake Zin a 90 point rating) so I had some expectation of what was in the glass tonight. So, without further delay:

The color is deep purple with violet edging. On the nose, blackberry and boysenberry and a backbone of alcohol. In the mouth- black currant and berries, with a kick of sassafrass root, licorice and what I have decided is the essence of ancient riverbed stone. The first things I tasted were the cassis and terroir, I swear there must be some syrah in this wine.

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Strong, (did I mention the alcohol? Oh, it’s there, at 15%) full-bodied, and delicious. It brought a quick smile to my face. This wine competes very well with some other small vineyards charging twice the price for lesser products from other areas of the west coast.  If you like family-owned, well-crafted wines with character, then you owe it to try some wines from Lodi, and Michael David.

photo-13All the Zin drinkers I know already rave about 7 Deadly Zins- that wine is a no brainer favorite from so many people looking for great under-$20 value. Now you have more to add to the plate from this wine maker- and I expect there is a lot more we haven’t seen in our east coast stores yet.

à votre santé!

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