I leave today for Lodi, California to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference. This will be my first time attending WBC. In addition to being educational I will be meeting tons of fellow bloggers that I have interacted with on social media for over 2 years. I am really looking forward to the week. I am going a day early because I am participating in an excursion into Lodi wine country. I am thrilled to finally be visiting Lodi! In honor of my #WBC16 attendance in Lodi I am going to re-run this article from 2015 featuring four outstanding Lodi wines; it’s not all about Zinfandel in Lodi!
Earlier this month Snooth invited me to participate in their Lodi Wines Virtual Tasting. It was my first time tasting wines from Lodi, California and I was impressed, to say the least. The tasting was hosted by Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser, and joining Tim were the Executive Director of Lodi Winegrape Commission, Cameron King and the Owner/Vineyard Manager of Harney Lane Winery, Kyle Lerner. The tasting was well organized, educational, fun and delicious! It was an honor and a priveledge to participate in the Snooth Lodi Wines Virtual Tasting and I am thrilled to share these four delicious wines with you! Below is the full Lodi Wines Virtual Tasting video if you would like to watch and learn about Lodi wines.
Lodi is all about wine! It is their passion, their livelihood and their focus. Located just minutes from the Sacramento airport, Lodi is one of the premier wine destinations in California. The Lodi Winegrape Commission began marketing the wines and winegrowers of Lodi in 1991, when Lodi had only 10 wineries. In the first decade that number grew to 75 and continues to grow today. Lodi now has over 450 wine labels! “The Commission represents 750 winegrowers farming nearly 100,000 acres of winegrapes, and has successfully moved the Lodi region well into the 21st Century.” Watch this brief video to see Lodi Wine Country for yourself!
One thing that struck me several times during the Lodi Wines Virtual Tasting was both Cameron and Kyle speaking of how they are stewards of the land. All the wineries in Lodi are “boutique,” family run wineries who care deeply about the land, understanding that someday the land will passed on to future generations of wine makers, so they seek to take care of the Lodi land through sustainable practices across the board.
The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s first 3rd party-certified sustainable winegrowing program. It promotes practices that enhance biodiversity, soil and water health, community and employee well-being, while meeting our needs today without compromising the needs of future generations.
If you are not familiar with Lodi wines here is your opportunity to change that immediately. These are wines that are crafted with love and care that need to be added to your wine enjoyment. Furthermore, Lodi is a fun wine region with lots of fun events throughout the year, great tasting experiences and even a wine club for your to join to get acquainted with this fantastic wine region! Now let’s take a look at the four lovely wines I sampled.
McCay Cellars 2014 Viognier: This wine poured a very soft gold into the glass and opened with vibrant aroma of orchard fruit and stone fruit, with floral and mineral notes. On the palate this wine delivered flavors of pears and white peaches on a backbone of minerality. It offered a creamy texture on the palate with low acidity and a clean finish. This wine was crafted with native yeast and fermented in stainless steel tanks. It was bright and delicious; a lovely example of the Viognier grape! SRP $24; click here to purchase.
From the McCay Cellars web site: McCay Cellars produces small case lots, typically less than 400 cases per lot (total production 4500 cases). McCay Cellars is a small boutique family owned winery that takes great pride in producing California’s best award winning wines. Michael McCay Owner/Winemaker simply states his goal: “To make wine with a sense of presence that expresses the character and trueness of the vineyard.” I strongly encourage you to visit the McCay Cellars web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wines and order the 2014 Viognier.
Uvaggio 2014 Rosato Table Wine: This 100% Cinsault wine poured a dazzling vibrant fuchsia into the glass and opened with aromas of candied cherries, strawberries, watermelon and soft floral notes. On the palate this lovely, dry Rosato delivered flavors of tart cherries, dried herbs and tart Granny Smith apples. It was had round acidity and a crisp, clean finish. This wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks. Uvaggio was 2014 California Vineyard of the Year! SRP $22; click here to order.
From the Uvaggio web site: Uvaggio is the result of two guys who represent a triple threat: too much experience, a low threshold for boredom and a desire to do something unique, which is why we make wines in California with grape varieties indigenous to Italy. Simply put – we are passionate about wine and we craft ours for people who want to experience something different than your typical California product. While our experience is well steeped in California’s traditions, our product is contemporary. Our wines are for people who appreciate expressive flavors delivered with a classic style. When it comes to the world of wine, here is what we believe: Wine should be fun; Part of that fun is trying something different; Wine should complement a meal, not replace it; One need not have to take out a loan to buy a case.
If you like our wine, open another bottle. Enjoy something new!
Fields Family Wine 2012 Syrah Estate Grown: This wine poured a dazzling violet into the glass and opened with inviting aromas of dark rich berries, roses, spice and a brooding earthiness. On the palate this delicious Syrah offered flavors of blackberries, black cherries, plums and currants with spice notes, dark chocolate, a rich gaminess and a touch of smoke. This full body wine was round on the palate with rich acidity and well integrated tannins. It was velvet smooth and very well-balanced, tasting older than its age and well beyond its price! Organically made; 14.5% alcohol. SRP $24; click here to purchase.
From the Fields Family Wine web site: At Fields Family Wines our wines will always be made in small lots, hand crafted and of the highest quality – it has to be, especially when your name is on the bottle. Our goal is to craft wines that showcase the vineyards from where they come and employ a minimalistic approach to winemaking. Grape growing and winemaking should go hand in hand – as winegrowers we seek to enhance this relationship. Wine is meant to be enjoyed with family and friends – join us!
Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Lizzy James Vineyard: This wine poured a vibrant plum into the glass and opened with inviting aromas of dark and red berries, spice and a slightly sweet note of vanilla. On the palate this earthy Zin delivered flavors of black raspberries, currants and blueberries, along with notes of spice featuring cinnamon, and vanilla on the back of the palate. This full body Zinfandel was round on the palate, well-structured with a luscious silky smooth texture on the palate. This 100% estate grown Lizzy James Zinfandel comes from 111 year old vineyards and was aged 21 months in French oak; 15.5% alcohol. SRP $35; click here to purchase.
“Welcome to a new tradition: Love Laughter Family Wine.”
From the Harney Lane web site: We believe that great wine really does start in the vineyard so when we vigilantly farm our vineyards we have a jump start on excellent quality wines. After lots of discussions over our homemade Old Vine Zinfandel, we decided, as a family we would like to share it with you. We handle our winemaking with the same care as our vineyards. All our fruit is handpicked; hand sorted, fermented in small lots and then barrel aged. Lodi had long gone unnoticed as the quality wine region that it is. We’ve always known that Lodi has the soil, climate and people to produce award winning wines. And now Lodi is gaining the respect it has deserved for so long. Warm days and cool Delta breezes create ideal growing conditions leading to rich flavors. Lodi has always been a leader in farming practices being proactive with education and developing such revolutionary programs as the Lodi Rules program, which we are proud to be a part of.
“Work at everything you do with all your heart.” — Colossians 3:23
I thoroughly enjoyed each one of these four delicious Lodi wines! I paired the McCay Cellars 2014 Viognier and Uvaggio 2014 Rosato with appetizers consisting of pears, grapes, crackers, sharp cheddar cheese topped with fig preserves, Stilton blue cheese topped with Tupelo honey, Capocollo and Sopressata. Each wine paired seamlessly with these appetizers. They would also both pair well with summer salads, seafood, poultry, creamy pasta dishes and eggs as well as sip beautifully on their own. I paired Fields Family Wines 2012 Syrah and Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 with pepper crusted pan grilled lamb chops and sweet potato mash. Each wine paired beautifully with this meal! Additionally, these two full body wines would pair well with steak, brisket, hearty pasta dishes, pizza and hamburgers; as well as sip beautifully on their own. Each of these wines are perfect for year round enjoyment and should be part of your summer menus.
My Song Selection: It is hard to select one song to represent four unique and distinguished wines but I think I found the perfect song: Jimi Thing by Dave Matthews Band. Dave Matthews is the master at incorporating a variety of tempos and feelings within one song. This song takes in the light and lively essence of the Viognier and Rosato as well as the rich funkiness of the Syrah and Zinfandel.
Get your own bottles of Lodi wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!