Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lodi Continued: Van Ruiten Vineyards

If you have been reading my Lodi posts, you will know that we tasted one of the Van Ruiten Wines when we started out at the Lodi Visitors Center, and we liked the wine we tasted quite well.  It was a Pinot Gris.  So we decided to visit the actual Van Ruiten tasting room to try some of their other wines.  Van Ruiten is working on a website so it is not functional yet, but when it is, the address will be www.vrwinery.com.

Wines we tasted:

2006 Old Vine Zinfandel – this Zin had a distinctly smoky character to it with lots of complexity.  There are aromas of vanilla, cinnamon and raspberries along with flavors of clove and blackberry.  Very nice wine.

I am going to digress here for just a second and comment about the cinnamon factor.  This is the third or fourth Zinfandel in Lodi in which we have experienced cinnamon.  This is not a common descriptor in Zinfandel and I am guessing it has to do with the Lodi growing area.  It is very exciting when you can find something that really distinguishes one appellation from another, and it is a delightful addition.

2005 Late Harvest Viognier “Nectar of the Gods” – This 12% residual sugar “nectar” is just that.  The incredible peach and apricot flavors just last and last in your mouth.  There were only 2 tons harvest and not until Halloween in 2005.  So it is, indeed, a very late harvest wine.

2004 “Sideways” Reserve Zinfandel – late harvest, dry, and aged sufficiently to turn into a very soft, velvety wine with a good bit of chocolate.  Excellent.

2005 Late Harvest Zinfandel – also harvested very late in the season.  This wine actually fermented to dryness and is very fruity in addition to being reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries.

2006 “Explozin” – Ancient vine Zin from 97 year old vines.  Only 500 cases were produced of this lovely wine.  It is very soft with lots of berries.  Winner of a Gold medal at the 2008 Best of the Bay Zinfandel Challenge.  Pricy for my wallet at $49.99.

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