Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lodi Tempranillo: m2 Tormenta - A Storm In A Bottle

Late in 2014, a social media virtual wine tasting event was put on by Lodi Winegrowers.  This event attracted a crowd of interested wine writers, many of whom had already experienced a taste of Lodi with a similar event centered on the Cinsault wines produced with grapes from Bechthold Vineyard. The Lodi Tempranillo tasting was eye-opening as well.

One of the featured Tempranillos was from m2 Wines, a winery self-described as crafting artisanal wines from distinct California vineyards which reflect the unique personality of winemaker Layne Montgomery.  His Tormenta Tempranillo is a storm of aromas and flavors.

The grapes for m2's 2012 Tormenta - 100% Tempranillo - come from vines in the 24-year-old Kirschenman Vineyard.  The Lodi soil tended by Alan Kirschenman - who is name-checked on the label - is composed of sand with light clay and gravel.

Tormenta is tank fermented and aged for 14 months French oak, 15% of which is new, with medium-plus toast.  295 cases were made, each bottle showing 15% abv and costing $22.

During the social media event for which the m2 Tormenta was supplied, @Lodi_Wine noted that "Winemaker Montgomery started in the broadcast business before moving to winemaking."  As a former broadcaster myself, I can feel the kinship.  Others also commented while sipping his wine.  @TheWineyMom liked the "M2 nose of coffee and mocha - first time I've sniffed these in #Tempranillo."  @dvinewinetime tweeted that "The nose on the '12 M2 Tempranillo is perfumed & floral w/ slight rotten egg."  Hmm.  I got a savory note, but it wasn't rotten.  @norcalwine says the m2 Tempranillo "is a mouthful of wine: creamy and packed with flavor. Red ripe fruit, sweet dill, cocoa!"  @myvinespot compared Lodi's Tempranillos with their Cinsault wines: "Where the lighter and brighter Lodi Cinsaults go well w/ turkey, the Tempranillos match well w/ turducken."

The m2 Tormenta is tinted a medium-dark red and has a gorgeous nose that lifts readily out of the glass.  Bright cherry and blackberry aromas mingle with cedar, pipe tobacco and a little smack of clove.  The palate is lively and flavorful, with great acidity that really makes the wine feel fresh in the mouth.  Tannins are on the tall side, a bit toothy, but not a problem with barbecued ribs and smoked sausage.  In fact, Tormenta also went quite well with a smoked English cheddar cheese.