2013 McCay Cellars Grenache Abba Vineyard
2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc Lodi
2013 Turley Zinfandel Kirschenmann
2013 Mettler Family Vineyards Zinfandel Old Vine Epicenter
2015 Azienda Bologna Cinsault a’Campo Old Vine Rose
2014 Acquiesce Roussanne
2014 Oak Farm Vineyards Barbera
2014 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine
2014 Bokisch Vineyards Albariño Terra Alta Vineyard
These are mostly wines that I purchased, a few were samples that were provided to me. I have the samples clearly stated as samples. Some were from my cellar, some were purchased during my recent tour of Lodi and some were purchased after I returned. I 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.
This is my second post on Lodi Wines. If you missed my previous post, it is available by clicking here.
2013 McCay Cellars Grenache Abba Vineyard – $25.60
Michael McCay and his family moved to Lodi in the mid 1980s. He started making wine in 1994 and launched McCay Cellars in 2007.
This is 100% Grenache that utilized a “native yeast” fermentation and that was aged in neutral oak. A total of 178 cases were produced.
Much more information is on the winery’s website.
The wine is a light, translucent ruby red color. The entrancing nose has raspberries, crushed stone minerals, warm baking spices, plums, white pepper, dry underbrush, fresh flowers and charred wood. This has medium to full body with medium tannins and great acidity. On the palate tart berries, white pepper, minerals and under ripe plums quickly grab your attention with baking spices and a nice floral note coming in later. The finish has very good length with tart cherries and charred wood providing nice depth. This is on the young side but already tastes great. This has good balance and is not on the highly extracted/over ripe side of the line. An outstanding effort! This tastes more like a Rhone wine than one from the new world. This has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (93 pts)
2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc Lodi – $19.20
Susan Tipton is the Owner/Winemaker for Acquiesce Winery. The winery’s vines were sourced from the famous French Châteauneuf du Pape estate, Château de Beaucastel. The winery produces almost all white wines with only one exception, a delicious rosé. These are all small batch, hard to find wines. The best sources for Susan’s wines are direct from the winery or from the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center. See below for info on the Center.
Much more information is available on the winery’s site.
The wine is a pale yellow with a slight green tint. The captivating nose has apples, melons, leafy herbs, orange blossoms, white peach, dusty minerals, lemon zest and a hint of roasted nuts. This has medium body with a creamy texture and crisp acidity. On the palate apples, under ripe melons, minerals and leafy herbs jump out quickly on the front end with orange blossoms slipping in on the back end. The finish has good length with lemon zest and a nice, slightly bitter roasted nut element adding nice depth. This is easy to sip and shows great balance and complexity. Another great, crisp white wine from Lodi. This has 13.5% alcohol and the stylish bottle is closed with an agglomerated cork. (92 pts)
2013 Turley Zinfandel Kirschenmann – $32.00
If you have not been living under a rock for the last couple of decades, you should know Turley Winery. Turley is one of the first “cult” wineries in California. The wines are mainly sold via a mailing list but I have seen some of the wines in retail stores. A lot of people are surprised to know Turley produces a wine from Lodi. It really shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise since this vineyard that was originally planted in 1915 is now owned by Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua. Tegan is the winemaker for Turley.
The wine is a deep purple color. The nose doesn’t lead you to think Zinfandel, this has raspberries, plums, scorched earth, dried herbs, dusty minerals, baking spices, violets and vanilla. This has a full body with moderate tannins and decent acidity. Berries, plums, scorched earth and minerals quickly coat your palate with baking spices and vanilla coming in later. The finish has good length with a touch of black pepper and dried leafy herbs providing depth. This may not be easily identifiable as a Zinfandel, but it easy to recognize the wine as being very tasty and enjoyable. I wouldn’t stash this one away for more than another couple of years. This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (90pts)
2013 Mettler Family Vineyards Zinfandel Old Vine Epicenter – SRP $19.99
This was a sample provided by the winery, Lodi Wine & Visitor Center and Calhoun & Company.
The Mettler Family is one of the oldest farming families in the region. The Mettlers have roots in the wine industry dating back to the 1770s and they have been growing wine grapes in the Lodi appellation since the late 1800s when their first Lodi vineyards were planted.
This is a blend of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged for 18 months in 70% American and 30% French oak; 60% new barrels. There were 7,186 cases produced.
Much more information on their history and wines is available on their website.
The wine is a deep maroon color. The big and bold nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, toasty oak, black peppercorns, licorice, tobacco, cola, dusty minerals and dried leafy herbs. This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity. On the palate crushed berries, dark chocolate and toasty oak quickly take control on the front end with tobacco, black pepper and dusty minerals coming in on the back end. The finish has nice length with dried herbs and dark chocolate providing nice balance to the rich berries. This is a big, rich and bold Zinfandel that pushes the ripeness and demands hearty food. This has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (89 pts)
2015 Azienda Bologna Cinsault a’Campo Old Vine Rosé – $14.40
I couldn’t find much information on the winery online. I assume I’m just looking in the wrong places.
The wine is a light pink salmon color. The soft and laid back nose has cherries, strawberries, stony minerals, orange blossoms, white peach and lemongrass. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and seems to be totally dry. On the palate bright red fruit, minerals and white peach jump out on the front end with lemongrass and orange blossoms coming in later. The finish has very nice length with mineral and red fruit. The is a very flavorful and balanced rosé that pairs nicely with a light meal but also excels sipping on its’ own on a sunny day. This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork. (90 pts)
2014 Acquiesce Roussanne – $21.60
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 and Grenache Blanc. 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.
The wine is a light yellow color. The exotic nose has apples, melons, banana, orange blossoms, spice and wet stones. This has medium body with nice acidity. On the palate this creamy textured wine has tart apples, melons and spice on the front end with orange blossoms and citrus zest coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice length with stony minerals providing depth. This would be perfect with a light lunch on a sunny day. This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork. (89 pts)
2014 Oak Farm Vineyards Barbera – SRP $25
This was a sample provided by the winery, Lodi Wine & Visitor Center and Calhoun & Company.
When I visited Lodi with a group of fellow bloggers in late September, one of the highlights was a tasting of Lodi produced Barbera wines. These were all high quality, distinctive wines with considerable merit. Oak Farm was one of the wines we tasted and I looked forward to being able to spend an evening with a bottle of their wine.
Oak Farm Vineyards is a beautiful winery that specializes in small lot/premium wines. If you ever make it to the region, I highly encourage a visit. A visit with Dan Panella the Owner/Winemaker and Chad Joseph the Head Winemaker will be an informative and tasty experience. More information is available on their website.
The wine is a deep garnet red color. The very inviting nose has black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dry underbrush, warm baking spices and dead wood embers. This has medium to full body with soft tannins and great acidity. On the palate cherries, spice and minerals jump out on the front end with underbrush and charred wood coming in on the back end. The finish has good length with the cherries and spice lingering nicely. This has great balance and it very easy to enjoy. I really liked this wine, a great job! This has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (92 pts)
2014 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine – $18.38
In Italian, “Macchia” means “the spot”. After a visit to the winery, especially their tasting area, you will agree.
Macchia is owned by the husband and wife team of Tim and Lani Holdener. The winery started operations in 2001 using grapes they sourced from California’s premium vineyards. The winery specializes in Zinfandels, they produce 7 or more different Zins. They also produce some very nice wines from Italian varietals. Tim is one of the “characters” in the region. He always seems to be smiling and have a joke or gag ready. The first time I met him, he was walking around on the dusty road we were having a tasting wearing a “tuxedo T-shirt”. Much more information on the winery is, of course, available on their website.
A potential source for Macchia wines is Total Wine. I know my local store carries a few of their wines, including this one.
The wine is a deep garnet color. The open and bold nose has blackberries, baking spices, black pepper, licorice, scorched earth, dried wildflowers, plums, dusty minerals, cherries and vanilla bean. This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity. On the palate blackberries, black pepper, scorched earth and baking spices quickly take control with plums and vanilla coming in later. The finish has nice length with cherries and a dried floral note providing good depth. This is big and rich with plenty of fruit and enough savory elements to provide some complexity and depth. I wouldn’t stash this one in the back of the cellar, I’d probably open this one over the next two to three years or the alcohol may start poking through. This has 15.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (90 pts)
2014 Bokisch Vineyards Albariño Terra Alta Vineyard – $16.20
I was a fan of Bokisch wines before I met Marcus Bokisch and visited the winery. Afterwards, my love and appreciation went up even more. Marcus is one of the most knowledgeable and well spoken people I have ever met. If you ever make it to Lodi, Bokisch is a “must stop”. If Marcus is there, ask him about “fairy shrimp and vernal pools”. Marcus and Winemaker Elyse Egan Perry are a top notch team producing world class wines.
Much more information, including recipes from Liz Bokisch, is available on their website.
The wine is a light yellow color. The very appealing nose has apples, orange blossoms, lime zest, crushed stone minerals and a hint of white pepper. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity. On the palate tart apples, lime zest and orange blossoms quickly grab your attention with minerals and orange zest coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice length with just a hint of white pepper adding nice depth before the mouthwatering citrusy acidity forces another sip. This has great balance and is a world-class Albariño. I really like this wine. This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork. (93 pts)
Conclusion and recommendations
These are all wines made with pride by families that either grow their own grapes of buy them from “friends”. The over riding thing I learned during my visit is this region performs like one big team. Everyone from the grape growers to the winery owners are equals when it comes to producing these world class wines.
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.
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.
Calhoun & Company enjoys a diverse portfolio of wine and spirits clients. From family owned to corporate managed, luxury to everyday priced, small lot wines to nationally distributed, Napa to Oporto, we thrive on the varied media opportunities each of these categories presents. We are exceptionally proud of the breadth and depth of our practice, as illustrated by this partial list of brands we have worked with over the past 13 years. For more information, visit their website.
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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 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.