The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 100 of 124

100 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 twist-snappy 2014 Markus Nimmo (Kerner/Gewürztraminer/Riesling/ Bacchus). According to Niggli, "The key is picking the grapes early when the acidity is still high, and use of native yeast fermentation to show the complexity of the fruit and terroir." Jason Holman of Holman Cellars was also on hand to show his Mokelumne Glen–grown 2014 Uncharted Bacchus, from a (Silvaner x Riesling) x Müller-Thurgau cross- ing, producing a dry, medium-bodied white wine bristling with peach, lav- ender and chalky texturing. The Koths also poured the 2013 Forlorn Hope Gemischter Satz; a Mokelumne Glen field crush (as much as two dozen varieties), producing a fuller-bodied, dry, fleshy menagerie of musk, min- eral, flint and exotic fruits—true to the phraseology on Forlorn Hope's labels, very much a "rare creature." Following our German wine expe- rience, our group walked across a private road to Bokisch Ranches' Las Cerezas Vineyard—a close-spaced planting of Albariño, Graciano and Tempranillo owned and farmed by Markus Bokisch, one of California's best known Iberian grape specialists. There, for our lunch, a local award winning paella specialist, Addy Grant prepared a giant pan of golden, nostril tingling paella, topped by a remarkable garlic aioli. Pèppoli's Bindel remarks, "The paella was memorable, but what was really sublime was the high acid, lemony fruit and minerality of the Albariño (the 2014 Bokisch Las Cerezas Vineyard) that went with it." We also enjoyed our paella lunch with a crackling-dry 2014 Bokisch Linden Ridge Vineyards Rosado (98% Grenache with Graciano), and a sleek, loamy, cherry/berry scented 2012 Tizona (by Bokisch) Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel. Markus Bokisch told our somme- liers their story: about how he spent his childhood summers with family in the Catalan region of Spain, and his first significant job sourcing grapes for Joseph Phelps Vineyards' Vin du Mistral program dur- ing the late '80s/early '90s. This led to his "discovery" of the Lodi wine region. Following lunch, Bokisch led our group on an on-site study of Lodi's lower Foothills appellations; starting with Bokisch Ranches' Terra Alta Vineyard in Clements Hills, where we tasted a super-sexy, spicy, peppery 2012 Bokisch Terra Alta Vineyard Graciano. Said Markus, "The volcanic soils of the rolling hills you find on the east side of Lodi gives us the exact soil type that are ideal for Iberian varieties. We originally planted Graciano, a thick skinned/large seeded grape, to enhance color and phe- nolics in Tempranillo, but when we bottled it on its own we found that it makes a wonderfully unique wine, dense yet very well rounded—something the Spanish are also starting to discover." In Bokisch Ranches' Vista Luna Vineyard, located in the cobbly/clay hillsides of the Borden Ranch appellation, Bokisch tasted us on a 2014 Bokisch Vista Luna Vineyard Verdelho, a viscous, citrusy dry white that comes across with a strikingly Mediterranean-ish, preserved lemon and herbes de Provence–like perfume. Then at Bokisch Ranches' newest planting, the Sheldon Hills Vineyard in the Sloughhouse AVA, we tasted a 2013 Bokisch Belle Colline Vineyard Monastrell that was pungent with woody herbs, sagebrush and pepper spices—seemingly more terroir than fruit focused. Day 2's site-seeing was capped by a stop at Silvaspoons Vineyards, owned and farmed by Ron Silva, Lodi's "Portuguese grape king." Silva's Alta Mesa AVA plantings have won more awards than any other single grower in Lodi. Silva started us off with a viewing of his "Port" block—rows of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca (aka Touriga Francesa), Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Tinta Cão, Alvarelhão, and Souzão—across a dirt road from a block of deeply pigmented Tannat, lined by multiple At Silvaspoons Vineyard: Marie Mertz (Todo un Poco, Elk Grove, CA), Jordan Villareal (The Hobbit, Orange, CA), Alicia Kemper (fundamental LA, Los Angeles), Silvaspoons Vineyard owner-growner Ron Silva, and Glenn Bardgett (Annie Gunn's, Chesterfield, MO). Naureen Zaim of Eveleigh, Los Angeles, holds an Alta Mesa-Lodi grown Torrontés cluster. PHOTO: RANDY CAPAROSO PHOTO: RANDY CAPAROSO

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