This is based on samples provided by the winery or another organization acting on their behalf.





2012 Acquiesce Belle Blanc

2012 Watts Winery “Upstream” Chardonnay

2012 Borra Intuition White

2011 St. Jorge Winery Verdelho Seco Silvaspoons Vineyard


Lodi Information

Lodi is just east of San Francisco and has provided grapes for producers all over the world since the 1800’s.  Today, there are approximately 80 wineries and tasting rooms, but more than 750 growers and over 100,000 acres planted to vineyards!


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, including unique white varieties like Albariño, Kerner, Roussane, Vermentino, Symphony, Verdelho and Viognier.  Over the past decade, creative, new vintners have begun to experiment with Lodi’s many white varieties, resulting in today’s production of exceptional varietal wines and intriguing blends.



Lodi Links

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.



Lodi Road Trip Passport

September is the month long celebration of California wine in Lodi.  This is the second annual Lodi Road Tip Passport.  Your purchase of a Passport gets you exclusive discounts toward activities, wine tastings and bottle or case purchases from over 45 Lodi wineries. Get your passport stamped at each winery and be entered to win a Lodi Wine Weekend Getaway!


More information is available by clicking here.



My observations

This was my second opportunity to sample some of the wines coming out of Lodi.  In an earlier post I reviewed four rosé wines from the region.  To check out that post click here.


These two tastings were a revelation to me.  Most of the Lodi red wines I’ve had over the years were big, ripe and bold red wines.  I didn’t know how the region would do producing lighter, crisp white and rosé wines.  Based on these two events, you can now count me in as a fan in these two categories.  For the most part, these wines were crisp wines with nice fruit and minerality.  These are exactly the wines we open from late Spring through early Fall in my house and probably yours.  I would proudly open these wines to pour for even the most discriminating wine lovers.


As an added bonus, these wines offer tremendous value of your money.  If these wines were produced in other parts of the state, the prices would two to three times higher.


If you are not a fan of the big red wines of Lodi, don’t let that stop you from sampling the very impressive whites and rosé wines being produced in the region.



Here is the line up for this tasting event:

Lodi Summer Whites




2012 Acquiesce Belle Blanc – SRP $24


About the winery

Acquiesce Winery is Lodi’s only winery that is dedicated to white wines, though they do produce an occasional rosé.  If you visit their website and check out the wines they produce, the first thing you’ll notice is that all their wines are made with the traditional Rhone grapes.  No chardonnay or sauvignon blanc wines here.  Instead, you will find Roussanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, Grenache Blanc, and this wine, a blend of a few of the varietals.  The second thing you’ll notice is their bottles.  Again, they are different and distinctive.


There is nothing wrong about being predictable other than being predictable and boring.  I love wineries that think outside the box and are distinctive.  Being different and distinctive is only a good thing if you are good at it, and Acquiesce excels at what they do.


Much more information is available on the winery’s website.  Click here to visit.


About this wine

The Belle Blanc is a blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, and 10% Viognier from estate vineyards.  The grapes for this wine were harvested in the Mokelumne River AVA of the Lodi Appellation.  The clones used are from Tablas Creek cuttings from the famous French winery, Chateau de Beaucastel.  All grapes were hand harvested in the morning to preserve acidity and whole cluster pressed to capture the fresh, flavorful character.  The wine was cool fermented in stainless steel tanks.  There were 150 cases produced of this 13.5% alcohol wine.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light straw color.  The sensuous nose is full of honeysuckle, pear, spice, orange blossom, honey, apricot, pineapple, and stony minerals.  This has light to medium body, is dry, and has crisp acidity.  On the palate spicy pears, honey and minerals can be found up front with pineapples and citrus on back end.  This has nice length on the finish with a nice floral note closing the show.  (90 pts)

2012 Acquiesce Belle Blanc




2012 Watts Winery “Upstream” Chardonnay – SRP $15


About the winery

Watts Winery is a small “mom and pop” winery in Lodi.  If you visit their tasting room, you will be dealing with the owners, Craig and Sherri Watts.  For four generations the Watts family sold their grapes to the larger, well known, bulk wineries.  Those grapes were used to produce some of the inexpensive, non-distinct wines a lot of us consumed to start us on our vinous journey.  Eventually the family decided it was time to take the next step and produce their own wine.  Their first wine was a 1999 Old Vine Zinfandel.


The winery now produces several award winning wines and recently added this label, Upstream.


For more information on the winery, including the story behind their Butterfly wines, please click here to visit their site.


About this wine

After harvesting the grapes are pressed into stainless steel vats and cold fermented.  The wine is slowly fermented and cold filtered over the winter.  This unoaked Chardonnay is from the Delta, about 60 miles from San Francisco Bay.  The warm to hot days are offset by the cool nightly delta breezes to ensure the grapes ripen and maintain their natural acidity.  The final alcohol is 13.6%.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly bright yellow color with some straw.  The clean and fresh nose has green apple, pear, lemon zest, spice, stony minerality, white peach, and a touch of tropical pineapple.  This has medium body, is dry, and has nice citrusy acidity.  On the palate, nice up front apples, pears and minerals hit first with lemon zest kicking in on the back end.  This has decent length on the finish with apples, minerals, and closing tart lemon zest with just a hint of pineapple.  This could use a touch more complexity, which may develop over time.  (89 pts)

2012 Upstream Winery Chardonnay



2012 Borra Intuition White – SRP $22


And now for something totally different.


About the winery

After making wine for his family for almost a decade, Steve Borra stepped out on his own to start Borra Vineyards.  The winery was started in 1975 and Steve produced Barbera and Carignane wines from his vineyards in Lodi.  In 1992 the family purchased 200 acres of land along the north bank of the Mokelumne River.  The property is now called the Gill Creek Ranch.  The vineyard is now home to Viognier, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.


Much more information on Borra Vineyards and its history is available on their website.  Click here to visit.


About this wine

This wine is different and is nothing like any wine you’ve had in the past.  Winemaker Markus Niggli, from Switzerland, set out to do something different by breaking all the rules.  He took cool climate German grapes, heavily reduced yields to one ton an acre and allowed them to fully ripen in the warm Lodi climate.  Next Markus barrel fermented the grapes with no added acidity until it was dry and aged the wine 9 months in 50% new American oak and 50% once used French oak.  To most people this is a recipe for disaster or at least a wine oddity.  In the end, this blend of 60% Kerner, 20% Riesling, and 20% Gewürztraminer is a racy success.  Did you notice the predominant grape in the blend?  Kerner was a new one for me too.


There are 200 cases of this wine and it has an alcohol level of 13.3%.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light straw to yellow color.  The exotic nose has butterscotch, coconut, apples, white peaches, white pepper, minerals, white flowers, mint, spice, pineapple, and citrus zest.  This has a medium body, is dry, and has good acidity.  This is luscious on the palate with apples and white peaches sprinkled with coconut and a few drops of butterscotch on the front end.  The back end introduces minerals, spice, and a floral note.  This has nice length on the finish with the addition of a minty note.  (91 pts)

2012 Borra Intuition White




2011 St. Jorge Winery Verdelho Seco Silvaspoons Vineyard – SRP $18


About the winery

This will be a little sketchy; there isn’t a lot of information on the winery’s website.


St. Jorge Winery is owned by a Portuguese family that has been growing food and making wine for hundreds of years.  The family tree has its roots on the Azores Island of St. Jorge.  The growing winery planted five additional acres of grapes in 2012.


Some additional information on the winery is available on their website.  Click here to visit.


About this wine

The Verdelho Seco (dry) joins the off dry Verdehlo in the winery’s portfolio.  Verdehlo is a white grape native to Portugal.  The grapes come from the Silverspoons Vineyard in the Alta Mesa region of the Lodi Appellation.


The wine was supposedly aged for 6 months in “neutral” oak barrels but I picked up considerable oak influences in the wine.  The final alcohol is 14.8%.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light straw to yellow color.  The nose has apples, vanilla, spicy oak, white peaches, citrus zest, and some minerality.  This has medium to full body and decent acidity.  On the palate there is some nice up front fruit and minerals then some oak kicks in adding layers of spice and vanilla that slightly obscures the bright fruit.  There is nice length on the finish where a touch of citrus zest breaks through the oak influences.  This is very well made, just not my preferred style.  If you prefer a creamy, oak influenced, fuller body white wine, this will exceed your expectations.  (86 pts)

2011 St Jorge Winery Verdelho Seco Silvaspoons Vineyard




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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.


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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  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 my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  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.