What’s New in Lodi!

What’s New in Lodi?
Everyone knows: Lodi = Zinfandel. Not exactly true! Yes, Lodi grows a lot of Zinfandel, but there are other grapes grown in the region as well. During a visit at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference, I found that Lodi is much more than just one grape. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a virtual live tasting with other bloggers and hosts in Lodi, thanks to Snooth. During the evening, we tasted and chatted about 6 wines from Lodi, and not one drop of Zinfandel in the whole bunch!

Lodi wines showcasing the variety of grapes grown in the region

Lodi is so much more than just Zinfandel!

Snooth “A Virtual Sip of Lodi”
: The wines were provided as samples. No other compensation was involved, all opinions expressed here are my own.

What’s a Virtual Tasting? Snooth organizes tastings like this regularly. They send out wines in advance, and feature live hosts during a broadcast with live chat for interaction with the bloggers involved. They can be kind of crazy as one is watching, tasting, typing all at a feverish pace. The virtual tasting is recorded here if you’d like to check it out!

The Wines
Lodi has a well earned reputation for producing excellent Zinfandels, and they are made in a variety of styles from more restrained to full-on big fruit, flavor explosions. While several of the wines matched up with my normal expectation of Lodi (big, bold wines), several were of a different style altogether. They demonstrated that Lodi is far from one dimensional. I had fun tasting through the wines with the group to see the variety of what’s happening in Lodi today.

Acquiesce Winery "Ingenue" White Wine blend from Lodi California

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards “Ingenue” White Wine 2018

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards “Ingenue” White Wine 2018 (sample, SRP $32 releasing in July 2019) 13% abv
Acquiesce Winery is an all white wine winery, certainly a new concept in the traditional home of Zinfandel. Run by Susan Tipton and her husband. All grapes are estate grown, produced and bottled. The winery is Lodi Rules certified sustainable. Ingenue is a white blend consisting of several grapes historically from the southern Rhone and Languedoc regions of France.

Eye: Clear, pale lemon color.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity aromas of grapefruit, freshly cut grass, fennel. Fresh and bright.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavors of grapefruit and herbal grassy elements. Refreshing high acidity with medium- body and a medium finish. A super refreshing, light bodied wine. Perfect with summer salads, aperitifs, fish dishes. This was my personal favorite of the whites of the evening.

M2 Wines Vermentino white wine, Mokelumne River, Lodi 2018

M2 Wines Vermentino, Mokelumne River, Lodi 2018

M2 Wines Vermentino, Mokelumne River, Lodi 2018 (sample, SRP $20) 12.3% abv

M2 Wines is Lodi Rules certified. m2 Wines creates “small-lot, artisanal wines that express the character of the vineyards we source and the nuance of their fruit.”

Eye: Clear, pale lemon
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity. Aromas of minerals – chalk, underripe pear with a little herbal note in the background, tarragon and thyme.
Mouth: Dry, medium- intensity. Medium+ acidity, but not tart or overtly acidic. Lean texture with fresh flavors of pear, chalk, and green herbs. The herbal notes in this wine make me think of fresh summer salads!

Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards Aglianico Rosé wine from Lodi California

Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards Aglianico Rosé, River Ranch Vineyard, Lodi, 2018

Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards Aglianico Rosé, River Ranch Vineyard, Lodi, 2018 (sample, $20 SRP) 13% alcohol

Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards has a history of five generations of sustainable winegrowing in Lodi, that’s quite a history in the US! Lange Twines is certified by Lodi Rules for sustainable winegrowing.

Eye: Clear, medium intensity pinkish salmon color
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity with aromas of rich, bright, ripe strawberries.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity. Medium acidity, medium body with a rich plush texture. This is a rich rose, not aiming for the bone dry, lean and tart rose drinker. Refreshing, with a medium finish, this rose would pair with bigger flavors and richer summer dishes.

Mettler Family Vineyards Estate Grown Pinotage red wine from Lodi California2016

Mettler Family Vineyards Estate Grown Pinotage 2016

Mettler Family Vineyards Estate Grown Pinotage 2016 (sample, $25 SRP) 14.9% abv

Mettler Family Vineyards is certified both to Organic and Lodi Rules, impressive. The Mettler family is 8 generations deep in winegrowers, with 6 generations of experience in Lodi. The wines are big and bold and proudly in the Lodi tradition.

Eye: Clear, deep ruby right to the edge. Stains glass and legs.
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Plush, dark very ripe fruit: blackberries, blueberries. Cocoa, vanilla, a little hot.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavors of dark ripe blue and black fruit, vanilla and cocoa. Medium acid, medium tannins, medium finish. The overall impression is what I think of as classic Lodi with lots of color, aroma, flavor. This wine would be very nice with a meal with big bold flavors.

Prie Vineyards Carignane Ancient Vine (1900, Block 4), Spenkar Ranch 2016

Prie Vineyards Carignane Ancient Vine (1900, Block 4), Spenkar Ranch 2016 (sample, $29 SRP) 14.4% abv

Eye: Clear, medium ruby.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Bright red fruit, strawberry candy, sweet floral notes of violets, followed by a bit of forest floor.
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity. Flavors of red fruits with floral notes. In the mouth, a bit of oak emerges, but it is very well controlled. Medium acidity, medium- tannins. Medium finish dominated by the fruit. Even at 14.4% alcohol, this wine gives a lighter, leaner impression and will appeal to an old world palette. While not the norm, we are seeing many more wines from Lodi taking a more restrained approach. Among the reds, this was my personal favorite.

Michael David Winery “Inkblot” Cabernet Franc, Lodi appellation 2016

Michael David Winery “Inkblot” Cabernet Franc, Lodi appellation 2016 (sample, $35 SRP) 15% abv
85% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Sirah. 65% of the wine was aged in neutral oak, and 35% aged in new French oak. Michael David Winery has been involved for 150 years in family farming, and is Lodi Rules certified sustainable grape growing.

Eye: Clear, deep ruby with deeply stained legs. This is a deep, dark wine!
Nose: Clean, pronounced intensity. Smoky deep dark fruit, sweet blueberries and blackberries, with coffee, cocoa.
Mouth: Dry, pronounced intensity flavors of dark blue and black fruits, coffee, cocoa.  Wine is full bodied with medium acidity, medium+ tannins and high alcohol. If you like big, juicy, flavorful red wines, you’ll love the Inkblot. I’d pair this with barbecued ribs with a nice sweet/spicy sauce.

Other Lodi Wine Posts
I’ve reported on other Lodi wines after meeting winemakers from Lodi at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference. Here are some links to my articles:

  • Markus Wine Co. link text and link text and link text
  • Harney Lane link text

Visits from the 2016 Conference in Lodi
As luck would have it, I visited Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards and Michael David Winery at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi. Here are some photos from the visit!

(click on any photo for a full size slide-show, hit “escape” to return to the post)



2 Responses to “What’s New in Lodi!”
  1. Jeff, great post! Rose looks very intense, gotta be very interesting to pair it. Aglianico and all others as well seem like sort of challenge for winemakers in traditional Zin kingdom )

  2. Lynn says:

    Haven’t done a virtual tasting like this but it looks like fun! As are all the varieties in Lodi now. When I was transferred to Sacramento in the late ’90s it was all about Zinfandel.

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