I was recently in Lodi, California with Snooth and some other amazing wine bloggers exploring this wonderful and diverse wine region. For those of you who have enjoyed wines from this region, cheers! This area of the Central Coast in California is full of grape varietals, growers, and winemakers who work together seamlessly and produce extremely stunning wines.
When I arrived at the Wine & Roses Spa and Resort I really didn’t have an idea of what “Lodi wine” was. I knew of the area, tasted some Zinfandel from Lodi before, but never had the ability to dive into the vast wine region that it clearly is today.
Day 1 was a whirlwind of wine, starting with a red wine tasting at Marian’s Vineyard, Mohr-Fry Ranches. The hot weather, beautiful surroundings, and wonderful wines was just the start of a very educational wine filled three days. Here we tasted some bold reds from St. Amant Winery, aka “The Mother of all Zinfandel” with Jerry and Bruce Frye, who are charming and welcoming. Tasting in the vineyards is truly a one of a kind experience that you must take on while visiting Lodi, California.
After our early morning 9am Zinfandel tasting at Mohr-Frye Ranch, we headed over to Soucie Vineyards to taste with Kevin Soucie. He is a well known grape grower, who takes a lot of pride in his vineyards, which are pristine and organized. He grows some grapes for Winemaker Layne Montgomery, of m2 wines. Layne has a gorgeous winery where he produces small-lot artisinal wines that express characteristics that represent the region very well. While at m2 winery, we enjoyed a delicious Paella lunch while tasting some of Layne’s Soucie Old Vine Zinfandel, tempranillo, and many others!
Winemakers and growers such as Todd Maley of Maley Bros., Chad Joseph, Layne, and Tim Holdener of Macchia, joined us for Paella and discussion of the new Lodi Native Project. This project showcases Lodi Zinfandel as well as as the region. The soils and climate here add a lot of influence to the wines produced, and Zinfandel is famous from here. The zins here are not as heavy, fruity, and overpowering as their reputation often makes them appear. Here they are terroir expressive, fruit forward, medium to full bodied, and easy to drink (even in 99 degree heat). The tasting was led by the winemakers and Randy Caparoso, who is a Culinary and Wine Writer as well as a wine tourism expert in the Lodi region.
Day 1 was all about red wines and the last stop before an evening of dinner and wine was at Oak Farm Vineyard. This gorgeous tasting room and winery is owned by Dan Panella, who produces the wines with head winemaker Chad Joseph. One of my favorite things about Oak Farms was not only the beauty of the winery, but the Spanish and Italian varietals they use to produce their quality driven wines. They also use stainless steel barrels (pictured to the right) which is something I have never seen before and was wildly impressed with.
We tasted a lot of wines during this trip, and I am happy to say that I fell in love with many of them. My top 5 from Day 1’s tastings were:
Stay tuned for more wines, vines, and vineyard stories!