Showing posts with label Mokelumne River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mokelumne River. Show all posts

Monday, July 13, 2020

Rosé, From Lodi

Whenever I get to take a trip - virtually - 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 took part in a July conversation with Oak Farm's co-owner and Director of Winemaking, Dan Panella.  The get-together was held on Zoom, where everything else also seems to be held in these pandemic times.

Panella talked about his family's three-generation farming claim at Oak Farm, which in Lodi is practically newcomer status.  He spoke of his fondness for the Italian and Spanish grape varieties found on his estate and reminisced 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 Farms is in Lodi's Mokelumne River appellation

Oak Farm Vineyards Rosé 2018

The Oak Farm Vineyards Rosé is made from an equal share of estate-grown Sangiovese and Barbera grapes.  It is produced as if it were a white wine, not as the bleed-off by-product of red wine.  Aaron Shinn manages the vineyard and takes suggestions from the winemaker on how best to grow the vines.  The rosé went through stainless steel aging, carries alcohol at 13%  and retails for $26.

The Oak Farm rosé has a lively nose full of cherry and strawberry aromas, with some citrus minerality and a floral note also in the mix.  The palate brings red fruit and tropical notes with a pleasant salinity and a zippy acidity.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Friday, August 2, 2019

Viognier Tames Lodi Sauvignon Blanc

The little hamlet of Murphys, California is home to one of the nation's biggest wineries.  Ironstone Vineyards is located east of Lodi in Calaveras County, in the Sierra Foothills.  It may be an out-of-the-way stop, but there's a better than average chance you've had some of their brands, or at least seen them on the supermarket shelf.

The Kautz Family are fourth-generation growers, not unusual in that part of the state, and the family-run winery's corporate officers are known simply as John, Gail, Kurt and Jack.

Ironstone Sauvignon Blanc Lodi 2017

The grapes for this white blend were grown in the Mokelumne AVA in southwest Lodi.  The label shows a "sweetness meter" which points to "medium-dry."  That is less surprising when you know that the wine is only 88% Sauvignon Blanc, with a healthy 12% portion of Viognier mixed with it.  Alcohol is somewhat restrained at 13% abv, and the wine retails for $14.

This pale Lodi Sauvignon Blanc has a nose featuring earthy minerals and apricots.  The palate shows citrus - mainly lemon and grapefruit - with a sweet edge.  A great acidity goes along with the easy-sipping flavors.   Pair this wine with with seafood, pork, chicken and bean dishes, or have it as an aperitif.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo 2012

Markus and Liz Bokisch took one look at Lodi and fell in love with it.  The property they bought reminded both of them of their respective family origins, and more to the point, reminded Markus of his childhood summers visiting family in Spain.  Their focus on Iberian grape varieties is the result of these family memories, we are all the richer for it.

The whole story was explained to me by the happy couple on a visit to Los Angeles, during which they poured their wines for an event at Edgar Poureshagh’s 3Twenty Wine Lounge.  They don’t know how to play it cool, fortunately.  Their love of wine and passion for making it is apparent in every story they tell.

Hailing from the Jahant and Mokelumne River AVAs, the 2012 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo is a tale of two vineyards and two different soil types.  Liberty Oaks and Las Cerezas vineyards sport volcanic clay loam and silty loam, in which the twelve-year-old vines grow.  Consisting of 90% Duero clone Tempranillo grapes, a 10% splash of the prized Bokisch Graciano grapes are thrown in at no extra charge, "in the tradition of the Rioja."

The back label shows that, "Like its Iberian counterpart in the Ribera del Duero, this wine displays luscious aromas of cherry and cassis, finishing with hints of cocoa and spice."  I was supplied a sample of this wine for the purpose of review.

Aging occurs over a period of 18 months in French and American oak barrels and the wine's alcohol content is 14.5% abv.  685 cases were produced, and the suggested retail price is $23.  Bokisch Vineyards is certified green for sustainable wine growing practices by the Lodi Rules Program.

The Bokisch Tempranillo is medium dark, allowing just enough light through the glass to outline the fingers holding it.  Its nose is very Rioja, with cherry and blackberry paving a path for some really great oak spice - aromas of an old baseball glove and a half a box of cigars hit me quickly.  Clove, nutmeg and some extremely delicious savory notes follow.  The palate brings very dark fruit and more of that savory action with plenty of oak effect showing here, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lodi Native Zinfandel: Fields Family Century Block Vineyard Zinfandel 2012

The winemaking community in Lodi is hard at work, slicing a piece of the California appellation pie for themselves.  Family-owned vineyards are the rule in Lodi, with generations upon generations of farmers working the dirt there.  They are getting out the message in every way possible that Lodi is a wine region of note, and Zinfandel is their calling card grape.

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 use of no new oak help put the focus on Zinfandel’s terroir - on the taste of vineyards rather than varietal character or brand.

Lodi Native wines are available for purchase in six-bottle cases only, each consisting of all six different single-vineyard bottlings.

The six wines of Lodi Native were recently discussed in a virtual tasting event on Twitter.  Here is one of them, from Fields Family Winery.  Their 2012 Century Block Vineyard Zinfandel was produced by winemaker Ryan Sherman.

Just under 14% abv, this focused, fruit-driven Zinfandel is made from some very select grapes grown in Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA, east side.  The Century Block Vineyard is only three acres small, but it is planted in Zinfandel vines that have been there since 1905.  According to the Lodi Native website, this wine is the first in all that time to feature the vineyard's name on the label and "shows what maximum attention in the field and minimal intervention in the cellar can do."  Sherman feels the same way, as expressed on the Fields Family Winery website: "Our goal is to craft wines that showcase the vineyards from where they come and employ a minimalistic approach to winemaking."  Here, that goal is met.

This deep, red Zin smells of blackberry, plum and chocolate, and richly so.  The palate is lovely, with cherries, plums and a hint of raspberries.  Extremely fine tannins and bright acidity make for an absolutely delightful experience, with a finish that is lip-smackingly good -  the raspberry flavor lasts longest.  This red is great for ham, chicken or pork dishes - it would even hit it off with a grilled salmon or swordfish steak.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter