2013 Michael-David Vineyards Petit Verdot Inkblot
2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann
2015 McCay Cellars Rosé
2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc
2014 McCay Cellars Viognier
2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc
2015 LangeTwins Sangiovese Rosé
2013 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine
2013 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard
2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard
These are all wines I purchased, none are samples that were provided to me. Some were from my cellar, some were purchased during my recent tour of Lodi and some were purchased after I returned home. I may write about wines but I am also a collector and wine consumer. I may write about some wines that are provided to me but I buy the wines I want to drink. Here are some of the wines from Lodi that are now part of my cellar. The prices noted are what I paid without tax or shipping. Most of the wines were discounted due to case or multi-case purchases, or store related percentage off coupons from Total Wine.
Some of the bloggers have already posted blogs on our visit to the area. I’m sure there will be more posted in the coming weeks, a few will be from me. For this post, I wanted to highlight a few of the world class wines bearing the Lodi name on the label.
2013 Michael-David Vineyards Petit Verdot Inkblot – $33.24
This is a wine I tasted during a visit to the winery as part of a group of bloggers with Snooth and the Lodi Wine organization. I liked it enough to include a few bottles in a case of Lodi wines purchased when I returned back home. For more information, visit the Michael-David Winery website.
This wine has a “touch” of Petite Sirah included with the Petit Verdot. The grapes for this wine came from Jon Wetmore’s vineyard on the northeast side of Lodi. This wine is always put into new barrels early in the harvest season due to the high level of tannin, color and concentration. The wine was aged 19 months in French oak. This is the first varietal bottling of Petit Verdot by the winery, there are very few other Lodi wineries producing Petit Verdot labeled wines.
The wine is a deep, dark maroon color. The impressive nose has crushed berries, baking spices, licorice, black cherries, dusty minerals, dark chocolate, scorched earth and a touch of cedar. This full bodied wine has moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity. On the palate loads of crushed berries, baking spices and dusty minerals grab control on the front end with licorice, black cherries and scorched earth coming in later. The long finish is full of berries, spice and a touch of cedar. This is an impressive Petit Verdot. The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (91 pts)
2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann – $28.00
I have been on the Bedrock mailing list since the inception several years ago. Bedrock is owned by Morgan Twain-Peterson, son of former Ravenswood owner and Zinfandel visionary, Joel Peterson.
This is from a vineyard now owned by Tegan Passalacqua (Turley winemaker) and his wife Olivia. This is an “own rooted” Zinfandel vineyard that was planted in 1915. The “own rooted” vines had survived because the soil is very sandy which is a natural deterant to pests and diseases they plague vines in other soil conditions. The wine is a deep ruby color. The very inviting nose has brambly berries, cherries, warm baking spices, dusty minerals, black peppercorns, dried leafy herbs, licorice and violets. This has a medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity. This is rich and voluptuous on the palate with juicy fruit, minerals, black pepper and dusty minerals on the front end with dried herbs and dry earth coming in later. The spicy finish has nice length. This is a very easy Zinfandel to sip and enjoy. The wine has 14.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (94 pts)
2015 McCay Cellars Rosé – $16.20
We met Michael MaCay and his Syrah grower Phil Abba and had a “side of the road” tasting at Phil’s Abba Vineyard. Just like every grower we met you could “feel” Phil’s dedication and pride in the grapes that come out of his vineyard. I bought this wine as well as McCay Cellars’ Syrah and Grenache wines make from the fruit from Abba Vineyard. This was fantastic on the side of the hot, dry and dusty road and I could not wait to open a bottle to sip at home.
McCay Cellars is owned by Michael McCay. McCay moved to Lodi in the mid 1980s and started to grow grapes. He started making wine in 1994 and launched McCay Cellars in 2007. Much more information is available on the winery, history and most importantly their wines by visiting the McCay Cellars webpage.
This wine is mainly Carignane (from 102 year old vines) with Grenache. The wine was produced with a “native fermentation” in stainless steel. The wine is a bright salmon color. The fresh smelling nose has strawberries, peaches, dusty minerals and lime zest. This has a medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness. On the palate strawberries and minerals immediately grab your attention with peaches in the background. The finish has nice length with a hint of lime zest leading you to grab another sip. This has just a hint of sweetness making it an easy to enjoy companion to a warm day in the sun. (90 pts) This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.
2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc – $9.49
Ironstone Vineyards is a family owned winery that we visited during our Lodi excursion. The Kautz family were gracious hosts during the visit. I enjoyed their entire line-up of value priced wines. The quality of the wines far exceeded the “low price of admission”. To me, their Petite Sirah and this Cabernet Franc were the standouts. I like the wine enough to include a few bottles in the case I bought soon after returning home. Visit the Ironstone Vineyards website for a ton more information on the winery, family and the wines.
This wine is 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alta Mesa and Sloughhouse AVAs in Lodi. The wine gets a brief 2 month aging in new French oak. The wine is a medium to dark ruby color. The very approachable nose has crushed berries, stony minerals, dried leafy herbs, vanilla, cedar and wild flowers. This has medium body with soft tannins and good acidity. On the palate juicy berries, vanilla and dried herbs dominate the front end with toasty cedar coming in on the back end. The fruit laden finish has nice length. This isn’t a wine to lay down, I’d drink this one on the younger side while the fruit is crisp and fresh. Open this one with a juicy burger hot off the grill or even better with a platter of cheeses and meats with a few friends. This wine is a steal if you can find it for around $10. (90 pts) This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an artificial cork.
2014 McCay Cellars Viognier
Information and links dealing with McCay Cellars is above with my review of their rosé.
The wine is a golden straw color. The inviting nose has apples, peach pits, honey, orange blossoms, dusty minerals, lime zest and lemongrass. This has medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness. Apples, lime zest and peach pits immediately coat your palate with richness, on the back end minerals and lemongrass enter the picture. The finish has nice length with honey and orange blossoms adding depth. This is an easy drinking wine that would be a hit with friends. (90 pts) This wine has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc – $19.20
I was already familiar with Acquiesce wines before the Lodi trip from earlier tastings. Acquiesce Winery was not visited on this trip but one of their wines, the 2015 Belle Blanc, was included in an online Snooth Tasting and chat while we were there. If you want to see the session, it is available online. I bought this wine as well as their Roussanne while in Lodi and had them shipped back home to me.
The wine is a very light golden yellow color. The fresh and lively nose has green apples, white peach, flinty minerals, pineapple, lemon zest and a hint of spice. This has medium body with great acidity and it seems to be totally dry. On the palate tart apples and flinty minerals take control quickly with white peaches, pineapples and spice coming in on the back end. The finish has good length with mouthwatering lemon zest leaving you reaching for another sip. Another great example of the white wines made from Rhone grapes that excel in Lodi. (92 pts) This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.
2015 LangeTwins Sangiovese Rosé – $12.00
LangeTwins is another winery we did not visit. The winery was still well represented, this wine was included in our “Welcome” dinner the day we arrive in Lodi. I tried a small taste of the wine, took a sip and wanted more. Needless to say, with a large table full of people, the bottle was empty. I bought a few bottles of the wine while in Lodi and had them shipped to me back in South Carolina. More information on LangeTwins Winery is available on their website.
This wine is a bright salmon color, a bit darker than a typical rosé. The refreshing nose has strawberry, cherry, dry earth, stony minerals, orange blossoms and a touch of lime zest. This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of sweetness. On the palate nice fruit and minerals hit first with orange blossoms and a touch of dry earth coming in later. The finish has nice length with mouthwatering lemon zest providing nice balance to the slight sweetness. This is not sweet but there is just enough residual sweetness to add some body and keep the fruit at the front. This is VERY easy to sip while relaxing. This has 12.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap. (90 pts)
2013 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine – $16.99
This is a bottle from my cellar. I am fortunate enough to have a local Total Wines and More that carries several Lodi wines. This wine and the St. Amant covered later in this post are almost always in my cellar.
In Italian, Macchia, means “the spot”. The owner/winemaker for Macchia is ever dapper, Tim Holdener. I’ll post a picture of Tim in his “tuxedo” shirt in a later post. We had a great visit to the winery which included tastes of several barrel samples. Time hosted a “Barbera tasting” that included several wineries in his outdoor tasting area which would be better called a “man cave”. The area was outstanding. Again, pictures and tasting notes will be included in a later post. During the event, when asked about the aging potential of Lodi Barbera wines, Time grabbed a bottle of his 2003 Barbera from his personal stash. Spoiler alert – it was outstanding. Much more information is available on the Macchia website.
The wine is a deep garnet to maroon color. The open and inviting nose has brambly berries, warm baking spices, vanilla bean, black cherries, chalky minerals, black peppercorns and dried violets. This has a fairly full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity. On the palate brambly berries, spices, black pepper and cherries jump out quickly with vanilla and minerals coming in later. The finish has good length with a dried floral note providing nice depth. This is on the young side but already drinking very nicely with some air. Load up if you can find this one. The wine has 15.8% alcohol that is well concealed and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (91 pts)
2013 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard – $16.99
This is a wine I always have in my cellar from the local Total Wine.
During the trip, we had a marvelous tasting of St. Amant wines in Marian’s Vineyard which is part of the Mohr-Fry Ranch with grower Jerry Fry and Stuart Spencer, the winemaker for St. Amant. The vineyard is well over 100 years old and produces wonderfully rich and concentrated fruit. I highly recommend visiting St. Amant’s website and reading about the people and wine, but especially about the vineyards that are used by the winery.
The wine is a deep purple color. The enticing nose has brambly berries, charred wood, crushed stone minerals, cracked black peppercorns, baking spices, black cherries, tobacco, earthy underbrush and dried wildflowers. This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity. On the palate brambly berries, baking spices, crushed stones and black pepper jump out quickly with black cherries and subtle charred wood coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice length with a pleasing dried floral note entering the picture. This could use a bit of time in the cellar but with a bit of air it is already stunning. Stock up on this one. (93 pts) This wine has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard
This is another bottle from my personal cellar.
We visited Harney Lane Winery during our trip. The Mettler family has been farming the vineyards for over 100 years. After many decades selling the grapes, in 2006 the family decided to start making wine. The grapes for this wine come from the Lizzy James Vineyard that was planted in 1904, making this truly an “old vine” Zinfandel.
Our visit to Harney Lane provided us a nice tasting of their wines including barrel samples. We had to “work” for the samples by doing “punch downs” of their fermenting Petite Sirah. Thankfully there was no mishaps for those wearing light colored clothes. Pictures of a few of us doing the punch-downs will be provided in a later post. Much more information on the winery’s history, family and wines is available on the Harney Lane website.
The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color. The inviting nose has blackberry compote, black peppercorns, crushed stone minerals, warm baking spices, scorched earth, ripe plums and vanilla bean. This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity. On the palate jammy berries, black peppercorns, baking spices and crushed stones jump out first with plums and scorched earth coming in on the back end. The finish has nice length with dark roast coffee entering the picture. This wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (92 pts)
Conclusion and recommendations
If you want to plan a trip to Lodi, which I highly recommend, your first step should be to visit the Lodi Wine Site. If you find yourself in Lodi and want to sip some wine, buy some wine or look for recommendations, I encourage you to visit them at:
Lodi Wine & Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road
Lodi, CA 95242
Phone: (209) 367-4727
This is also a great place to buy Lodi wines. They have an extensive inventory of wines that you can have shipped to your home.
I was included as part of this blogger trip by Snooth, one of the top wine related sites on the internet. I highly recommend visiting their site.
Lodi is just east of San Francisco and has provided grapes for producers all over the world since the 1800’s. The Lodi area has provided grapes for producers all over the world for decades, and many families in Lodi have been growing grapes for six and seven generations. Today, there are approximately 85 wineries and tasting rooms, over 750 growers and more than 100,000 acres planted to vineyards. The wines we tasted commemorate the heritage of Lodi and are not only exquisite, but tell a narrative.
It is a well-known fact that Lodi is predominantly a red wine region, proudly holding the self-proclaimed title of “Zinfandel Capital of the World”. What is lesser known is that Lodi’s unique Mediterranean climate allows for over 75 different varietals to thrive.
Tons of great and useful information is available on the Wines of Lodi, LOCA website. I highly encourage you to read about the area by clicking here. You can also follow Lodi on Twitter at @Lodi_Wine.
Lodi Green Program
The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s first 3rd party-certified sustainable winegrowing program. Originally launched in 2005, over the past two years the program went through and extensive review to update and make standards more rigorous.
The Lodi Rules takes a comprehensive approach to farming that goes beyond just pest management to promote practices that enhance biodiversity, water and air quality, soil health, and employee and community well-being. This allows us to produce higher quality wines more reflective of the places and people that grow them. It gives you the opportunity to promote responsible farming by enjoying the great wines from these vineyards.
When you drink a certified sustainably grown Lodi wine, you are supporting a farmer, a vintner, and a community that embraces its responsibility to take care of the environment.
Visit the Lodi Certified Green site for more information on the region’s sustainable winegrowing.
Whether one is just a beginner, or a total pro, Snooth offers its 1 million+ users countless opportunities to learn, taste, share and shop in the world of wine.
Members are able to interact with wineries, stores, fellow wine lovers, and wine professionals from all over the globe with Snooth’s daily newsletters, wine search, social forums and interactive media tools.
Since its launch in June 2007, Snooth has become one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive online wine destinations, featuring millions of price listings and wine reviews. Snooth also powers wine & food pairings for major sites including Epicurious.com (Conde Nast) and myRecipes.com (Time Inc).
Visit Snooth by by clicking here.
Connect with me
You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two. Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets. I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.
If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.
This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com. Copyright 2016 Cliff’s Wine Picks.
All rights reserved.
***** Shameless Self Promotion *****
Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.
Breaking news from Klout:
Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts
Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:
Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.
Remember to support your local wine store!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines. I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar. I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com. Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear. There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.
Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase. I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store. Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges. None of the prices include the sales tax.
All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.