Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Fiano, From Lodi

Whenever I get to take a trip to Lodi, I jump at the chance.  John Fogerty may have been "stuck in Lodi," but he should have visited a winery or two.  That would have brightened his view of the locale.

Oak Farm Vineyards is my stop on this virtual vacation.  I am taking part this week in a conversation with Oak Farm's co-owner and Director of Winemaking, Dan Panella.  The get-together is to be held on Zoom, where everything else also seems to be held in these pandemic times.

Panella talks about his family's three-generation agriculture claim at Oak Farm, which in Lodi is practically newcomer status.  He speaks of his fondness for the Italian and Spanish grape varieties found on his estate and reminisces about his younger days driving a tractor through the cherry and walnut orchards.  He turned the business into the wine arena in 2004.

Oak Farm itself was founded in 1860, with the Panella family coming along in the 1930s.  Today, Panella and head winemaker Sierra Zieter manage a diverse portfolio of wines.

Oak Farm Vineyards Fiano 2019

Fiano isn't a made-up name for a wine.  It's a southern Italian grape variety, grown in Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA, on the Oak Farm estate.  It is originally from Campania and Sicily.  The grapes were picked whole-cluster, then pressed into steel tanks for fermentation, then aged in neutral oak barrels.  Alcohol is reasonable at 13% abv and the price runs $26.

This wine's nose carries some great salinity and minerality, with notes of honeydew and orange peel.  The palate is about as refreshing as a white wine gets, with plenty of citrus - tangerine, lemon and grapefruit.  The acidity is racy enough to challenge any Sauvignon Blanc.  I could down some oysters with this Fiano, or a Maryland crab cake - I've been jonesing for that lately.

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