ZAP Festival - Zinfandel Advocates and Producers - is an annual immersion into the world of the Zinfandel grape. Each year San Francisco turns into Zin City as devotees flock there by the thousands to sample Zin after Zin.
Randall and Charlene Lange, of Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyards, were kind enough to send me a sample of their Zin, thinking I may want a sneak peek at it before they pour it at ZAP. If you are attending, they would love for you to stop by the table and say hi to Steven Folb and Andrea Roselli, the lucky team members who will pouring.
The Langes are a fifth-generation farming family. All nine members of the clan are involved in the operation of the winery, which opened in 2006.
Lange Twins is certified “green” by Lodi Rules Sustainable Winegrowing, California’s first third-party sustainable winegrowing program. The winery passed an independent audit of their viticultural practices to achieve that honor. The Langes see themselves not just as farmers, but as stewards of the land. They appear to take that position seriously.
There is a lot of Zinfandel planted in the Lodi AVA, where the warm days and cool nights prove to be just right for California's heritage grape. The Langes have some comments on their website about the 2010 vintage, which they say fell under the heading of “challenging.” They say, “2010’s fruit quality varied not only between appellations but between neighboring vineyards. When a clear blue sunny day was seen in the Clements region, the heart of the Lodi and Clarksburg Appellations were still under fog. This led to specific lots delivering intense flavors, whereas others were not as memorable.“
The Langes say having estate vineyards spread out over the area gave them the opportunity to blend grapes from different vineyards, one of which was planted in 1903.
Winemaker David Akiyoshi learned his trade while working for the Mondavi company. He believes in true varietal expression and feels that wine’s natural place is on the dinner table next to some food. Oh, he’s also a restaurateur. At his School Street Bistro in downtown Lodi, you’ll not be surprised to find that Lange Twins is the house wine.
The Lange Twins 2010 Zinfandel is a potent wine, carrying a 14.9% alcohol number. The suggested retail price is $15.
The wine shows medium color in the glass - a pretty, ruby red hue - and medium density in the mouth. The nose gives off quite a bit of alcohol early, so a full decanting is advised. Big, jammy blueberry aromas are laden with spice. Vanilla from the oak is there, but I also pick up cedar and a note of cigar. The tannins are full and firm, even when the bottle is open for three days. In that time, a brambly flavor comes through. The palate is full of fruit and spice as well, with a long-lasting finish in which ripe blackberries are the final memory.
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