Sunday, October 17, 2010


Oak Ridge Winery OVZ

Some pretty fantastic wines are coming out of Lodi, CA these days.  Zinfandel is a specialty of the region, owing to its Mediterranean climate and the alluvial soil.

Winegrower Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Rocky Reynolds, acquired Oak Ridge Winery in 2001, and for the winery's OZV senior winemaker Chue Her utilizes fruit from gnarled, low-yielding vines that are as much as 120 years old.

The OZV is made up of 95% Zinfandel and 5% mixed estate varieties.  It shows 13.4% abv, a pretty low alcohol number for a California - especially Lodi - Zinfandel.  This bottle retails for $20, but I grabbed it on sale for $17.

OZV shows a fairly dark ruby color in the glass, with a nose of big, bold raspberry, strawberry and cherry aromas.  There's a hint of earthiness that grew each night the bottle was open, becoming a little darker and more tar-like over three nights.  The nose is so big and fruity, it's almost candylike, with a huge play of anise like you'd find in black licorice.  The complexity continues with a touch of chocolate aroma layered underneath.

The palate sports earthy brambles and a hint of coffee on the finish.  The wine is very smooth and silky, with fine tannins and a bright, lively acidity that makes for a juicy and lip-smacking experience.  It's a great tasting, smooth drinking wine I would love to try with rosemary pork chops or a smoked ham.

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