Touring the World in Lodi

Lying at the edge of the Sacramento River Delta, just two hours east of San Francisco, Lodi, California enjoys a classic Mediterranean climate, ideal for growing wine grapes.

Published: 1/13/2015

Lying at the edge of the Sacramento River Delta, just two hours east of San Francisco, Lodi, California enjoys a classic Mediterranean climate, ideal for growing wine grapes. For decades, it has been a quiet, but far from a sleeping giant, producing an astounding amount of wine grapes for countless wineries throughout California. Today , Lodi boasts 113,000 vineyard acres—more than Napa Valley and Sonoma County combined. But quality, not quantity, is what draws savvy wine tasters here. In the region’s last grape consensus, more than 100 grape varieties representing every corner of the world were counted! If you want to tour the world in one exciting AVA, it’s time to take your palate on a tour of the world in Lodi.

New Zealand

It is said that Sauvignon Blanc is the varietal that awoke the world to New Zealand wine. Lodi Sauvignon Blanc has that same dazzle. It stirs the senses with vibrant aromas of citrus, stone fruit, and tropical fruit, and possesses such a high acidity level, it dances with a refreshing crisp- ness on the palate. One swirl and you’re transported to the Marlborough region of New Zealand’s South Island, where fruit-driven expressions of this noble grape prevail. TRY 2012 Heritage Oak Sauvignon Blanc; 2013 Lange T wins Sauvignon Blanc; 2012 V an Ruiten Sauvignon Blanc

South Africa

South Africa’s coastal region has fast earned its reputation as a wine region with its understated New World style and innovations like Pinotage, an intriguing cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Although Pinotage is still almost exclusively grown and produced in South Africa, it flourishes in Lodi, where the hearty vines yield wines characterized by rich fruit profiles, medium structure, and a long finish. Lodi Pinotage makes a robust accompaniment to spicy foods and baked pasta dishes. TRY 2011 Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage; 2011 Loma Prieta Pinotage, Amorosa Vineyard

South America

Considered Argentina’s flagship variety, Malbec has adapted beautifully to Lodi’s soils and climate. Lodi Malbec is characterized by the same deep, inky red hue with juicy dark fruit flavors and soft, approachable tannins one finds in Argentina. And Lodi Tannat? It possesses a heady raspberry aroma and dark, tannic profile reminiscent of the Tannat one tastes in Uruguay . TRY 2010 Ironstone Reserve Vineyards Malbec; 2011 Michael David Inkblot Tannat; 2012 Peirano Estate Malbec

Spain and Portugal

In Spanish, the word tempranillo means “little early one.” Its namesake variety , T empranillo, is the dominant variety in some of the finest wines Spain and Portugal produce. Tempranillo thrives in Lodi as well, where the distinctive grapes are crafted into medium to full-bodied wines with low acidity. Yet, Lodi Tempranillo tends to be more fruit driven than their Spanish and Portuguese cousins, with jammy flavors of berry, spice, and tobacco on the palate. White wine lovers should watch for crisp, aromatic Albariño (of Spanish origin) and silky, aromatic Verdelho (of Portuguese origin) too. TRY 2013 Oak Farm; 2005 Alta Mesa Verdelho; 2011 Riaza Tempranillo; 2010 Harney Lane Lodi Albariño

Germany and Austria

The aromatic wine grapes of Germany and Austria have found a New World home in Lodi. Cast off any preconceived notion that German and Austrian varietals are sweet, and look forward to tasting an array of dry, crisp, food-friendly wines with acidity levels that leave little to no sweetness. Look for Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Bacchus, and Kerner varietals and blends characterized by a distinctive mineral, chalky quality that seamlessly complements spicy foods. TRY 2013 Markus Nimmo Lodi White Wine; 2013 Bokisch Garnacha Blanca; 2009 Mokelumne Glen V iney ards Riesling

France and Italy

Although Viognier is not planted widely in France, it is decidedly French, with distinguishing white floral notes. Today, it is also decidedly Lodi, where the varietal is complimented for its bright, honeyed profile and long, dry finish. Other French varieties, like Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, bloom into lovely, balanced wines to enjoy alone or as part of a sumptuous meal. Lodi also speaks Italian beautifully, with classic, balanced varietals like Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Primitivo, and more. TRY 2013 Acquiesce Viognier; 2010 Michael David Incognito White Wine; 2010 Sorelle Primitivo; 2012 St. Amant Barbera; 2011 Watts Dolcetto


As seen in the issue Spring 2015 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.