One of the cool things about having done a wine blog for some time is that we get invited to some pretty awesome events and trade tastings. The Lodi in Los Angeles event late last winter was one such event featuring Lodi wines. There was a grand tasting for the public that evening. But we got in with the trade (which also means we got in for free).
Located at the northern end of the San Joaquin Valley and south of Sacramento, the Lodi region is right at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. They are best known for their old vines zinfandel (and, indeed, we tasted one from 102-year-old vines, which is really old). However, they’ve been growing a lot of Spanish and Italian varieties. Actually, they grow all manner of varieties up there, as we found out last November at the Wine Bloggers Conference, including a couple even Michael hadn’t heard of. That’s saying something.
We ended up tasting over 30 wines that afternoon (and doing a lot of spitting). We seldom do more than 20 at a go because, after a while, one’s palate just gets too fatigued. But these were great wines and there were plenty of nibblies to go along with them.
There’s no way in heck we can list all the wines we tasted. But we did run into several women winemakers that we hope to catch up with in the next few months. We may consider catching up with John Gash at Prie Winery. Not only did he have the 102-year-old zin vines, he poured some carignane from 118-year-old vines. Michael wrote about the zin: Nice fruit, but no jam. Good acids, making a tasty sipper and excellent food wine. The carignane (a red wine) had some cedar on the nose, red fruit and cedar in the flavor, with nice acidity and a long finish.
So while old vine zinfandel from Lodi is justly lauded, there’s a lot of very interesting and very tasty stuff coming out of the region.