Lodi is known for being one of the most diverse growing regions in California, but until fairly recently, it never quite got the attention it deserved. Located between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the San Francisco Bay, it’s twice the size of Napa Valley and home to a number of forgotten grape varietals from all over the world. It’s true that their claim to fame is Zinfandel (they make about 40% of the country’s Premium Zin,) but this beautiful, sun-drenched region also frequently surprises its visitors with unforgettable wines they’ve never even heard of.
Snooth.com will be the first to open your eyes about this newly appreciated AVA, and in doing so, has raised the bar with their latest virtual tasting. They provided a number of gorgeous Lodi wines, and not a one of them Zinfandel. The tasting was hosted by Emmy-Award Winning Wine Expert Leslie Sbrocco, who is best known for her show Check Please! and was voted as one of the top 100 most influential people in the American wine business.
She was joined by Stuart Spencer, the executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission and owner of St. Amant Winery, as well as Adam Mettler, winemaker for both Michael David Winery and Mettler Family Vineyards. Mettler was also named Winemaker of the Year in 2016 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
This knowledgable and witty star studded cast of wine professionals led a tasting through six incredible Lodi wines:
- Acquiesce Winery 2018 Ingénue
- m2 Wines 2018 Vermentino
- LangeTwins Winery 2018 Aglianico Rosé
- Mettler Family Vineyards 2016 Pinotage
- PRIE Winery 2016 Ancient Vine Carignane (1900)
- Michael David Winery 2016 “Ink Blot” Cabernet Franc
The first white wine, Acquiesce Winery’s “Ingenue” was light, elegant and “delicately distinct.” Aquiesce is Lodi’s only dedicated white wine winery, and this white blend was a perfect example of what they’re capable of creating. The blend consisted of Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Picpoul Blanc and was overflowing with bright lemon, peach and floral notes that reminds one of the delicate blooms of new Spring.
Next up was m2 Wines and their Vermentino, and it was everything a Vermentino should be: bright, crisp and refreshing. It was like biting into a fresh pear, just tangy enough to make your mouth water, and refreshing enough to cool off the hottest of days. (I even paired it with my light “guilt-free” Cashew Chicken recipe that night. It was perfect fit.)
The only rosé in the lineup was a rare and curious one: LangeTwins rosé of Aglianico. A deep, rich rosé that tasted like a freshly baked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Delicately balanced, and not overly fruit forward, but just juicy enough to make you want to head out to a strawberry patch or an apple orchard and pick some delicious fruit of your own.
The first red wine was Mettler Family Pinotage, made by one of the hosts, Winemaker of the Year, Adam Mettler. Pinotage was created in South Africa in 1925, but perfected by the Mettler family. Dark, rich and brambly, with aromas of dark fruit and smokey licorice on a bed of toasted brioche. Light enough to pair with a number of different dishes, but bold enough to be the star of any show.
PRIE Winery’s Ancient Vine Carignan was another memorable wine. The grapes were harvested from vines planted in 1900 and they made a beautifully seductive wine. You could almost taste the history. This truly terroir-driven wine was dark and earthy, full of ripe plum and dried cherry flavors, coupled with strong aromas of wood-spice and bacon. Pair this with a charcuterie board loaded up speck, bresaola and some smokey gouda for a night you’ll never forget.
Last, but certainly not least was Michael David Winery’s “Ink Blot” Cabernet Franc, also made by David Mettler. This wine was bold and decadent with a finish that went on for days. Heavy with aromas of blueberry, sun-dried cherries, tobacco, pie crust and peppercorn. What a perfect wine to end an already unforgettable tasting.
All tolled, Snooth.com picked a gorgeous selection of wines to perfectly illustrate what Lodi is capable of. Their virtual tastings are always an incredible experience, but between the knowledgeable and entertaining hosts and this truly spectacular set of wines, this time it felt just a little extra special.
The next time you think of Lodi, remember just how special and diverse it is, full of rich history and even richer wines. It’s no surprise that Lodi was named Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast in 2005!
Cheers to you Lodi!
Visit Smooth.com and LodiWine.com to purchase these incredible wines and learn more about Lodi!