Lodi California Wine Offers A Variety of Varietals
by John Dunham
If I only had a dollar, for ev’ry song I’ve sung, and ev’ry time I’ve had to play while people sat there drunk.
You know, I’d catch the next train back to where I live.
Oh ! Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again.
This is the end to the famous 1969 song written by John Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
John Fogerty never actually visited Lodi California, which was about 70 miles from his hometown of Berkeley. Today, however, people stream down from Berkeley and from all over the country to sample some of the region’s famous old vine zinfandel wines.
The region is one of the larger production areas for wine grapes in California, and those grapes find themselves in wines produced throughout the state and even the country.
A Variety of Varietals!
For oenophiles, Lodi offers so much more than just Zinfandel, including a variety of varietals.
In addition to producing grapes for other wineries, Lodi’s 78 plus vintners put out a wide range of outstanding wines from about 100 different varietals and ranging from popularly priced to super premium offerings. In fact, Lodi is often called the wine grape capital of California due to the large number of varietals that flourish there.
Along with the traditional grapes of the region, Zinfandel and Flame Tokay, a grape mainly distilled into brandy today, the region produces a international group of varietals:
Spanish varietals like Albariño, Tempranillo, and Garnacha
Portuguese varieties, including hard to find grapes like Touriga Nacional, Verdelho, and Tricadeira
German varietals including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Zweigelt
Italian varietals including Barbera and Sangiovese,
French Varietals including Viognier, Syrah, and Tannat.
A virtual United Nations of wine grapes have found their home in Lodi.
A Virtual Wine Tasting With Sooth.com
We had an opportunity to sample many of the wine range of Lodi varietals at a recent virtual wine tasting sponsored by Snooth.com.
As we have often written before, virtual wine tastings have all the elements of the in-person variety. Since they are online, participants have the added advantage of gathering with other like-minded people from different places who for practical reasons, couldn’t possibly get together in one room at the same time any other way.
This is why Snooth.com is an excellent venue for this type of event.
The website has participation from over a million wine lovers and wine professionals from all over the globe.
To review all the advicesisteres.com reviews of virtual wine tastings that advicesisters.com has participated in with Snooth.com so far, type virtual wine tasting or snooth.com into the search box on the upper right hand side of this page.
The 2016 Lodi Virtual Tasting
This particular tasting was hosted by Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser, a nationally renowned wine expert who served for many years as the Education Chair and the Education Director for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. He’s also an adjunct professor for the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley.
Mr. Gaiser was joined by Stuart Spencer, the Program Manager of Lodi Winegrape Commission (and the owner of St. Amant Winery), and Mike McCay who along with his family have farmed in Lodi for 20 plus years and who launched the McCay Cellars label in 2007. Having moderators of this caliber is why Snooth.com virtual wine tastings are so
Having moderators of this caliber is why Snooth.com virtual wine tastings is quite special Nobody is better placed to discuss a wine than the person who made it.
We know from experience just how much knowledge can be gained by discussing wine with one of the 230 or so Master Sommelier’s in the world.
The Lodi Wines We Sampled:
The first wine in the tasting was Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards Belle Blanc (2015: $26), white blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussane and Viognier.
This very small production wine was presented in a lovely presentation bottle, and has a light yellow color. On the nose, the wine featured florals as well as peach and other stone fruit notes. The palate was fresh with good acid, and featured a very complex array of tastes from honey and light citrus on the front, to apple, almonds and a nice long, somewhat spicy finish.
This is a very nice seafood wine, and with its beautiful bottle would make a great gift – that is if one of the 2,600 bottles is still available.
Lodi Red Varietals:
The McCay Cellars Grenache (2013: $32) is a 100% Grenache wine. Light red in color with some brown hues, the wine featured strawberry, cherry and some vanilla notes on the nose. The wine had a light structure, as one would expect from Grenache, with nice fruit up front followed by coffee and licorice notes on the back of the palate.
The wine had a light structure, as one would expect from Grenache, with nice fruit up front followed by coffee and licorice notes on the back of the palate.
This is a fruity wine, and would be an excellent wine with barbeque, or smoked turkey. Following Grenacha week; however, the price point seems a bit extreme even for a very small production estate bottled wine.
The sheer variety of Lodi winegrapes is seen in the third wine of the tasting. LangeTwins Nero D’Avola (2014: $20) is 100% estate grown Nero D’Avola, a red wine varietal indigenous to Sicily.
The wine comes from a vineyard planted in 2012 adjacent to the winery. It is very dark purple, almost black, in color, with a nose featuring raisin and cassis notes.
The wine itself is soft in structure with raisin, black cherry and interesting watermelon notes. There is a sweet feel to this wine suggesting that it would pair nicely with smoky flavors like barbeque or Indian foods.
The final wine from the virtual tasting was Klinker Brick Winery Farrah Syrah (2013: $20)*. This 100 percent Syrah varietal was dark purple in color. The nose in my “all purpose” wine glass was closed, though there were some bacon notes.
On the palate the wine had a supple structure, there were strawberries and black fruits as well as a lot of meaty notes. Tasting this wine with the Chinese barbecue ribs that we were featuring at the Snooth.com virtual wine tasting toned down the meat notes from the wine and brought forward black fruits and some spicy notes on the finish.
Syrah is not our favorite varietal (everyone has a different taste profile) but this was a very nice wine without the clingy feel that Syrah has for us. While it likely will surrender with age, the wine is excellent now and shows what Lodi can do with a wide range of varietals.
Virtual wine tastings, like those offered by Snooth.com provide an excellent opportunity to try different regions and wine types, and they make a great occasion to have a few friends over to share dinner, wine, conversation, and their thoughts.
Following this tasting, we would surely like to be stuck in Lodi –to try some of the amazing variety of varietals.