Tag: Lodi wine

McCay Cellars 2017 Grenache Rosé

I was in town for the Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics symposium, and decided that I would spend some time getting to know the wines of Lodi. The region has a bit of a bad reputation, known to produce excessive amounts of grapes (namely Zinfandel and Cabernet) that ultimately end up in “bulk” wine. At various other tasting events, I’d had the opportunity to taste a handful of smaller producers from the region who are focused in on creating a new reputation for Lodi—one of infinite variety, producing, yes, sometimes Zinfandel, but more often lately “other,” lesser-known varieties that seem to thrive in Lodi’s climate and soil.

So I came to town early on that day, a Wednesday. Unfortunately many wineries and tasting rooms were closed, saving their hours for weekend tour-goers. But thank goodness McCay Cellars was open (and staffing a very friendly hostess, I might add). I’d heard glowing things about their wines and, well, all of them were true. I came away with two wines—both Grenaches. I’d never considered Lodi a Rhone-style region. But, as I said, these small, often family-run wineries, are putting new grapes to the test and, thus, Lodi on the (legit) wine map.

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Ana Diogo-Draper 2016 Verdelho

I was excited to see this wine come in my delivery from NakedWines.com. Not regularly exposed to Spanish or Portuguese wines, my main experience with Verdelho has been with those from California. And I have to say Lodi is the up-and-coming region to watch when it comes to these (as of now) “lesser known” grape varieties. So, when I learned the grapes were harvested from Lodi, and the winemaker cut her teeth on Napa wines — great experience plus great fruit has to equal phenomenal wine, right?

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McCay Cellars 2014 Abba Vineyard Grenache

My first trip to Lodi was, unfortunately for a business trip. So I didn’t see too much besides the inside of a conference room. But I did make time to explore the humble downtown area — luckily because several folks recommended I try McCay Cellars. While many wineries are closed mid-week, which is when I found myself wandering around town, McCay was very much open and staffed with the kindest hostess willing to play along and entertain this wine nerd. She provided me with comparative vineyard and vintage tastings, barrel samples, and a few “off menu” items. But what I walked away with — what I had to walk away with was this Grenache from Lodi’s Abba Vineyard.

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Cellars 33 2016 Clay Station Vineyard Grenache Blanc

Jon Fones, co-owner and winemaker of Cellars 33, says that when starting a winery, one tends to grab at the fruit they can get their hands on — vineyards with available, affordable contracts with fruits you’re able and willing to work with. After working with Napa-based Chardonnay for a number of years, Fones — through a tip from a fellow winemaker — turned his sights to Lodi where, he found, the Grenache Blanc in Clay Station Vineyard grew just beautifully (and, yes, affordably). It may have been a bit experimental at first, working with a new grape variety within his portfolio, but now Cellars 33 is focused on Grenache Blanc as their white wine. “With the fruit from Clay Station,” says Fones, “We can express the source through our wine. And that’s really what we’re all about.” 

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Michael David Winery Chardonnay 2015

A good wine is like a good book (or movie or favorite t-shirt). Sometimes when you find one you like you just keep going back to it over and over and never stop to think about what else the author has written or winemaker has produced (or director or designer has created). Such was my case with Michael David Winery: I only ever knew him for his Petite Petit. Well, lo-and-behold, he makes other wines — and you can find those wines at the store! Well, I at least found Michael David Winery Chardonnay…

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