My introduction to some of the over 100 varieties of wine grown in Lodi began at a Wine Bloggers Conference welcome dinner hosted at Acquiesce Winery, which only produces white wines from Rhône varieites. My second taste was the following morning at an Albarino breakfast (yes, you heard that right) at Bokisch Vineyards with the variety expressing beautiful citrus notes across bottlings from different vineyards and producers. Those who have the perception that Lodi only produces big red wines should take note.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of delightful red wines coming out of the region. During my stay I took a trip to Bechtold Vineyard and tasted the exotic Cinsault variety, which is often characterized as “Pinot Noir meets Zinfandel.” Today, famed wineries Turley Wine Cellars and Bonny Doon are among those sourcing grapes from the Lodi vineyard.
Of course, I tasted plenty of the region’s signature grape, Zinfandel, which is quite quaffable. But the wines that captured my attention were not the usual suspects.
Bokisch Vineyards Graciano 2014 $23
This Spanish red variety characterized by Oz Clarke as, “far and away the most interesting red vine in Rioja,” expresses itself here with aromatics of clove along with cranberry and vanilla on palate. Hmmm, cranberry – it sounds like that would pair with turkey dinner!
Estate Crush Albarino 2016 $18
Fruit for this bright white wine is sourced from Vista Luna Vineyard, owned by Bokisch Vineyards. Pear notes on the nose carry through to the palate and are met with bright acidity. Albarino is not just for breakfast anymore! This Spanish variety is an excellent match for seafood, as well as the traditional Spanish dishes of tortilla de patata, and paella.
Klinker Brick Carignan $25
A variety originating in Spain, it expresses itself as a dark, concentrated red wine with flavors of raspberry jam; almost smoky.
Lange Twins Nero d’Avola 2014 $25
This delightful expression of an Italian variety is a juicy wine with notes of red licorice. Sadly, the 2014 vintage is all there is, so get it while you still can!
Mettler Family Vineyards Aglianico 2015 $40
This full bodied red wine is typically found in southern Italy. This version is delectably deep and rich with chocolate and Tootsie Roll flavors. Bring on the meaty dishes – osso buco anyone?
Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage $24.99
Pinotage originates in South Africa. It’s a rarity to see it grown here in the States, so give it a try and broaden your horizons. Pair with barbecued ribs!
Obsession Symphony $14
Symphony is a delightful variety created at UC Davis in 1948 and is a cross of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris. It has proven so popular it’s distributed to over 25 countries. With beautiful floral aromatics, this delicate off dry white wine is a tropical fruit lover’s delight. It’s a perfect complement to Asian Pear Salad.
Prie Dornfelder $27
A popular variety in Germany, this red wine is deep, dark, and inky in color and as for tasting notes I merely jotted down an exclamation point. Even winery co-owner Lisa Gash explained, “It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted.” It does, however, pair incredibly well with a big hunk of aged Gouda cheese.
About the Author
Nancy Croisier is an enthusiastic advocate for exploring the world of wine. She holds the prestigious designation of Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators, and has graduated from the Northwest Wine Academy with expert training in wine sales and marketing as well as wine and food pairing. She specializes in bringing wine brands and consumers together. Follow Nancy’s wine and food adventures on Twitter and Instagram: @NancyFeasts and explore more wine discoveries on her website Wine and Beer of Washington State.