Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Four Fun Wines From Lodi, California

Gorgeous Lodi Grenache!
I've written a lot about Lodi over the pastyear or so. After a big tasting of some really interesting and deliciously quirky Lodi wines, I called the region a "big tent freak show of awesomeness."

And the wines from this historically-maligned area near Sacramento continue to impress me with their diversity of styles and fascinating blends. Conscientious winemakers are committed to raising the reputation of Lodi wines by focusing on the region's treasure trove of old, gnarly vines, which produce wines of with deep and concentrated flavors. 

As part of an online tasting sponsored by the wine site Snooth, I recently tasted four Lodi wines and chatted with Stuart Spencer, Program Manager at the Lodi Winegrape Commission and Winemaker, at Lodi's St. Amant Winery, and Michael McCay, Owner/Winemaker at his eponymous winery, McCay Cellars.

There are a lot of really solid and unique Lodi wines in the $20 range. But there are also some real stunning, cellar-worthy wines (like the McCay Grenache in this tasting, which really rocked my socks off). 

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. 

2015 Acquiesce Belle Blanc - California, Lodi
SRP: $26
Light yellow color. Smells of peaches, guava, honey but also some lime peel, sea salt, cucumber and floral perfume. Crisp and crunchy on the palate but lots of waxy, honeyed appeal. Peaches, guava, limes, the fruit is blended with perfume, stony minerals and a green herbal note. Fresh, juicy, solid complexity but so pleasant to sip and enjoy. A delicious and intriguing blend of 45% Grenache Blanc, 45% Roussanne and 10% Viognier. (88 points) 

2013 McCay Cellars Grenache Abba Vineyard - California, Lodi
SRP: $32
Crisp and lively ruby color. Smells of ripe but tart plums and cherries with lots of smoke, tobacco, black pepper, rose petals and pickles – a seriously fun and intriguing bunch of aromas. Palate: Full-bodied with a fleshy but tart texture and lip-smacking acidity and medium-soft tannins. Tart raspberries mix with juicy cherries and red plums. I get lots of smoke, charcoal, tobacco, white pepper and herbal tea notes. Such a food-friendly, pleasant but flavor-packed wine. Gorgeous stuff for those tired of extracted, heavy Grenache. (91 points)

2013 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh - California, Lodi
SRP: $20
Deep, extracted purple color. Smells of dark plums, blackberries and saucy currants, along with barbecue smoke and dark chocolate notes. Full-bodied with fleshy and approachable tannins and medium-low acidity (which helps a bit) — this is a bold and unsubtle wine with plenty of flavor. Packed with roasted plums and blackberry jam, along with an interesting mix of mesquite, pepper, chocolate and cedar. A richly delicious Syrah for near-term consumption. (86 points) 

2014 LangeTwins Nero d'Avola Red Tail Vineyard - California, Lodi
SRP: $20
Deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherries and red currants on the nose, along with cola, smoked herbs, charcoal and black licorice – an interesting blend of aromas. Full but smooth with soft tannins and medium acidity, which keeps it fresh. Black and red cherries and currants, saucy fruit but not baked. Notes of campfire, anise, clove and loamy soil. Interesting in addition to being delicious. This is the first vintage of this wine, which hails from the Red Tail Vineyard, planted in 2012. (87 points)

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