We had not expected to get freed up and have an extra day to tour wineries, but it happened. So we decided to visit the Lodi area, yet another part of the California wine scene that we had never visited. Mark Chandler, the Executive Director of the Lodi-Woodbridge Grape Commission, is a fellow judge and invited us to come see what is happening in Lodi.
Lodi is only about 40 miles from Sacramento and so it was a short trip over. There are about 50 wineries in Lodi and this includes a couple that are open by appointment only and 14 listed as wineries only with no tasting rooms. It is an extremely worthwhile plan to visit the Lodi-Woodbridge Grape Commission first. It is a beautiful building with lots of information on the history of the area and how grapes are grown and harvested, as well as maps, brochures and even a great tasting room that has selections of wines from the various wineries. But, if you want to taste more from those wineries or actually see them and talk to their staff, that is when you need to go out on the road and check them out individually. We did both.
At the Center, we tasted these wines:
Van Ruiten 2006 Pinot Gris – This was a very pleasant, well-balanced Pinot Gris, with good fruit and a nice mouthfeel. Lovely summertime wine.
Bokisch 2005 Tempranillo – Nicely balanced flavors and aromas of leather, spice, oak and especially chocolate in the aftertaste. Lots of character with lingering flavors.
Peltier Station 2006 Zinfandel – smoky bacon flavors with lots of fruit behind it. This was an incredibly aromatic wine with great complexity….berries, plums and chocolate.
Vino Con Brio 2005 “Old Vine Zinfandel” – this was a very silky zinfandel with bursts of berries...blackberry and raspberry. The aromas were bold and plummy with those same berries mixed in.
Next – Jessie’s Grove Winery