Monday, January 20, 2014

Lodi Wine: A Great Place To Be Stuck Again

John Fogerty made Lodi sound like a lousy place for an entertainer to be stranded, but a grape-growing winemaking family could sure do a lot worse.  Lodi is full of generations-old farming families who have turned their farms into vineyards and their barns into wineries.

A recent virtual tasting of a handful of Lodi wines featured the Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.  The Mettlers have been at the grape thing for a while now - their estate was established in 1899.  Five generations of Mettlers have tended the vines and winemaker Adam Mettler helps carry on the family tradition.  Both vineyard blocks used in the making of this wine are organically and sustainably farmed.

The Mettler Cab has a varietal makeup of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petite Sirah and 1% Petit Verdot.  It is bottled under natural cork, aged in French oak for 22 months and strikes 14.9% abv.  7,800 cases were produced and the bottles retail for $25.  I was given a sample to review.

Some of my cohorts taking part in the Twitter tasting were mightily impressed by the Mettler wine:  "I find the @MettlerWines Cab is, ironically, very Napa's good!"  "Mint and eucalyptus nose! almost birch beer."  "Big with fruit, soft with tannic structure. very drinkable & food friendly."

Inky purple in the glass, this Lodi Cab does produce quite a sensory experience for the nose.  Aromas of blackberry, cassis and clove are major players, but the fruit stands forward.  Other herbal qualities also take turns in the spotlight.

The palate is all big, dark fruit.  The wine has great acidity and tannic structure, but it drinks very smoothly.  Cedar notes carry a little spice - the oak is very pleasantly noticeable here.  There is a hint of bramble in the finish, but the sip goes away as smoothly as it came.

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