Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lodi Native Zinfandel 2013: Wegat Vineyard By Maley Brothers

A recent virtual wine tasting event featured LoCA, the Wines of Lodi and the second vintage release of the Lodi Native project. The event is chronicled on the Twitter hashtag feeds at  #LodiLive and #LodiNative.

Lodi Native is a collaboration of six winegrowers who aim to highlight Lodi's unique sense of place by focusing on single-vineyard Zinfandel selections from the region. Each wine benefits from native yeast fermentation, zero new oak, and a “hands-off” approach in the vineyards and cellar, allowing the terroir-driven fruit to speak for itself. It's an effort that any Zinfandel purist can appreciate.

Here are the six wines tasted and tweeted about during the virtual event:

2013 Lodi Native Stampede Vineyard Zinfandel (Fields Family Wines)
2013 Lodi Native Schmiedt Ranch Zinfandel (Macchia Wines)
2013 Lodi Native Wegat Vineyard Zinfandel (Maley Brothers)
2013 Lodi Native Trulux Vineyard Zinfandel (McCay Cellars)
2013 Lodi Native Marian’s Vineyard Zinfandel (St. Amant Winery)
2013 Lodi Native Soucie Vineyard Zinfandel (m2 Wines)

Last year's inaugural releases were astounding. The bar was set high, and the Lodi Native growers and producers jumped at the chance to match - or exceed - the quality of the 2012 wines. These wines are all available at the respective wineries and at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center only. I was invited to take part in the virtual tasting event and was provided samples of the wines for that purpose.


Winegrower Todd Maley  took care of the grape-growing, while Chad Joseph handled the winemaking chores. On social media, @BrittanyCurran commented that this vineyard was "passed down through generations, love it." @Lodi_Wine tweeted that "Wegat Vineyard is a 21-acre plot of head-trained vines planted on St. Jorge rootstock in 1958." Tasting notes from @ReverseWineSnob admired the Zinfandel's "cherry, spice, mint and a nice earthy streak." 

The '13 Wegat Vineyard Zin by Maley Brothers is a worthy addition to the Lodi Native lineup. It is colored very dark and smells that way, too. Blackberry and black cherry aromas do a good job of distracting from the subtleties that lie beneath them. Rich, black earth, minerals, smoke and coffee all appear in turn. The palate turns those aromas into tastes, with a plummy blackberry front, and amazingly earthy middle and a juicy finish that lasts forever. It's a big wine, a brawny drink - not elegant. This wine has broad shoulders, blue jeans, a big belt buckle and dust on its boots. Pair it with lamb or game. If you like cooking, use it in a marinara sauce. You will have the best sauce ever.