Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lodi Native Zinfandel: Maley Brothers Wegat Vineyard 2012

The grape variety on which Lodi hangs its hat is Zinfandel, and a new collective of Zinfandel producers - Lodi Native - has been formed.  The six winemakers have banded together to bottle some single-vineyard Zins under their collaborative banner.

Their mission is to accent Lodi’s heritage plantings – many of them dating back to the late 1800s – through sensible viticulture and minimalist winemaking practices.  Native yeast fermentation and the lack of new oak in the aging process help put the focus on Zinfandel’s terroir - on the taste of vineyards rather than varietal character or brand.  Read more about them here.

Lodi Native recently held a virtual tasting event on Twitter, which you can research at the hashtag #LodiLive or watch in recorded fashion.  Here is one of the wines discussed.


Maley Brothers 2012 Wegat Vineyard Zinfandel - Winemaker Chad Joseph, of Maley Brothers; Grower Todd Maley.

A product of the Mokelumne River region of Lodi, this wine carries a big alcohol stick, hitting 14.9% abv.  Wegat Vineyard is a 21-acre planting of head-trained vines, field budded on St George rootstock in 1958.  Its fine, sandy loam is typical of west-side Lodi.

It’s an inky wine, with  blueberry and wild berry on the nose.  Aromas of big fruit and minerals with a hint of anise are almost overpowering.  On the palate, explosive dark fruit and fresh acidity provide a great mouthfeel, while firm tannins add structure.  A slightly herbal angle plays through the enormous fruit for even more complexity, and lingers on the finish.