Monday, September 1, 2014

Lodi Native Zinfandel: Macchia Wines

There is a new collective of Zinfandel producers in Lodi - Lodi Native.  The six winemakers involved have banded together to bottle some single-vineyard Zins under their collaborative banner.  Lodi Native wines are available for purchase in six-bottle cases only, each consisting of all six different single-vineyard bottlings.

The mission of Lodi Native is to accent Lodi’s heritage plantings, many of which date back to the late 1800s.  They do this through sensible viticulture and minimalist winemaking practices.  Native yeast fermentation and the lack of new oak help put the focus on Zinfandel’s terroir - on the taste of vineyards rather than varietal character or brand.

The group’s mission is to show the world "that distinguished, distinctly identifiable vineyards exist in Lodi, similar to other great wine regions of the world."  They also want to preserve old-vine plantings and celebrate the agricultural heritage of Lodi.

You can find out more about the specific wines here:

2012 Fields Family Century Block Vineyard
2012 m2 Soucie Vineyard
2012 Maley Brothers Wegat Vineyard
2012 McCay Cellars Trulux Vineyard
2012 St.Amant Marian's Vineyard

Today, we are covering the 2012 Macchia Noma Vineyard Lodi Native Zinfandel.

The Macchia Wines Noma Ranch Zinfandel is made by Macchia's winemaker, Tim Holdener.  The grapes are brought to fruition by grower, Leland Noma.

Noma's namesake vineyard is a 15-acre plot of small, old Zinfandel vines.  Noma Vineyard dates back to the early 1900s, which actually makes those vines middle aged by Lodi standards.  The land - on the east side of the Mokelumne River - is completely dry-farmed, producing tiny clusters of highly concentrated, high-acidity Zinfandel grapes.

Macchia is a small, family owned/operated winery.  Holdener makes no bones about it - he's a Zinfandel man and he shows it by producing nearly a dozen single-vineyard bottlings.  Macchia also sneaks around behind the Zinfandel banner to make some fine Cal-Italian wines - Sangiovese, Barbera, and Nebbiolo.

This Lodi Native Zin is medium-dark purple in the glass, as well as on my shirt when I sloshed a bit while swirling.  After blotting up the floor around me, I smelled and received a nose full of peppery raspberry and black cherry.  The black pepper comes through like gangbusters.  The palate shows why Zinfandel reminds me of the Old West.  The black cherry carries so much dust you could hold a rodeo in it.  The pepper is so big it needs a ten-gallon hat.  And the sagebrush - well, podnah, that's real sagebrush in them thar bottles.  The fruit plays large, of course, and the cherry/raspberry flavor carries a dark note of brambly tar.  The alcohol doesn't seem to be as high as listed - 15.8% abv.


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