Friday, November 20, 2009

The Other Side of Lodi – White Wine Extravaganza (part 1)

This was the name of the presentation, and is one of the many seminars that took place at the 2009 American Wine Society Conference on November 5, 6, 7, 2009, in Destin, FL..  The presentation was given by Mark Chandler, head of the Lodi, CA, Winegrape Commission.

It is a truly impressive selection of Lodi white wines.  Along with some more common varieties, this was a great opportunity to taste examples of some unique varieties that are not common in the United States, but being tried here.

It is quite a long list at 13 different wines.  So I will break it down into two posts. Here is the first group.

2008 Uvaggio Vementino – 100% Vermentino.  There are only 2 or 3 wineries in the United States who make Vermentino, one of which is Raffaldini Vineyards in NC(also making an excellent, award winning Vermentino).  I am becoming a big fan of this grape/wine.  The aroma had a lot of melon and some floral qualities followed by lots of wonderful, refreshing, grapefruit character in a very nicely balanced wine.  12.2% alcohol.  $14.00

2008 Alta Mesa Cellars “Silvaspoons Vineyards” Verdelho – very aromatic with citrus and tropical fruit, very soft, nicely balance and easy to drink.  Lots of character and complexity.  13.8% alcohol.  $16.00

2006 Gustavo Thrace Sauvignon Blanc – This winery is actually located in Napa, but was included because the grapes were from Lodi.  There was a really nice melon/grass aroma but it was a little short on the palate.  13% alcohol.  $16.00

2008 Bokisch Garnacha Blanca – Light and pleasant with what seemed a little like some Labrusca aromas.  Slight herbaceousnes, which is supposed to be common in this variety.  Very creamy in the mouth.  14.5% alcohol.  $18.00

2008 Vino Con Brio Pinot Grigio – true Grigio Italian style – sharp and a bit astringent on the palate with a bit of bitterness in the finish.  Those who know me know that I am not a fan of most Pinot Grigios for this reason.  I prefer the Alsatian or Oregon style Pinot Gris, which are lower acid and fuller in body.  But this is probably a good food wine and many people would love this wine, particularly for that reason.  $16.00

2007 Van Ruiten Pinot Grigio – despite the term Pinot Grigio, this wine is much more in the Pinot Gris style.  I expect they use the Grigio term as a marketing tool, as do many wineries.  This wine was soft and round with very nice pear and honeysuckle notes.  Nice ripe fruit was evident.  $14.00

Next:  Albarino, Viognier, Chardonnay, and a very unique dessert wine.


  1. Linda,
    With the holidays fast approaching, will you be giving any pairings? Simple appetizers with appropriate wines to serve?

    Maybe some of your readers have something that is different but easy and good. You could suggest a wine to go with it.

    Thank you.

  2. Maggie, this is a great idea. I will post my first recommendation today.