The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 101 of 124

{ }  101 "Sleeping in" on their last morning, at 8:30 a.m. our sommeliers took the opportunity to explore another side of Lodi: half the group sliding into kayaks and gliding across Lodi Lake and part-way up the Mokelumne River (which, in many ways, defines the Lodi Viticultural Area); and the other half headed out into the Delta region itself (the far western edge of the AVA) where they visited the Coldani Olive Ranch and learned about the synergistic relationship between viticulture and olive farming in Mediterranean zones like Lodi's. Our SOMM Camp's final event took place on Lodi's east side, in one of Mettler Family Vineyards' vineyard estates; with plantings of not just Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah, but also adventurous varieties such as Aglianico and Pinotage. With lunch of wood oven pizzas, the sommeliers sampled a final slate of Lodi classics: Mettler Family's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon—an aromatic bottling enriched in traditional Lodi fashion with a good dose of Petite Sirah, adding a sweet spice and fleshy texture. A drop-dead gorgeous, blueberry and violet nuanced 2013 Ironstone Rous Vineyard Zinfandel—from a venerated east side ("Victor Triangle") vineyard planted on St. George rootstock in 1908. A bouncy, moderately weighted 2012 d'Art Wines Garnacha—sourced from the lower Foothills of Clements Hills, and crafted by another one of Lodi's smaller artisanal wineries. The elegant yet densely textured 2012 Harney Lane Lizzy James Vineyard Zinfandel—another east side, own-rooted, ancient vine growth (planted in 1901), con- sidered one of the finest in the appellation. An almost other-worldly, exotically spiced, elderberry scented 2012 Harmony Wynelands Alicante Bouschet, made from one of the world's rare teinturier (red-fleshed) grapes, also playing a major part of Lodi's viti- cultural history since the early 1900s. The 2010 Viñedos Aurora Don Victor Reserva de la Casa—another burly, pun- gent, yet well-proportioned Lodi style rendering of Cabernet Sauvignon (blended with 40% Petite Sirah), estate-grown and crafted by a second generation Lodi family of Mexican descent. The 2012 Upstream (by Watts Family) Pescador Vineyard Zinfandel—from a 1940s-era planting, epitomizing the rounded, almost "voluptuous," loamy/ earthy style of Zinfandel from the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA. During lunch, Glenn Bardgett—the Wine Director of Annie Gunn's & Smoke House Market in Chesterfield, Missouri—stood up to express many of the sommeliers' sentiments, saying, "For me, the best way to learn about an area has always been learning about the people. We did exactly that during this trip, and found that there is a definite connection between the two— the wines of Lodi reflect the integrity and long term goals of some incredible people." Seth Wilson, the Sommelier at The Boarding House in Chicago, put in his two cents: "The Lodi SOMM Camp gave us a rare insider's glimpse into a winegrowing region that has both a long tradition and trailblazing identity. The sheer energy evi- dent in Lodi's multi-generation families is clearly etched in the confidence and play- fulness that we've seen—so many esoteric varietals, wines expressing the terroir of vineyards, unique gems no longer hidden behind commercial labels. We met people who are shaking the foundation of how the rest of the world perceives this appellation. I'm looking forward to more exciting things to come out of Lodi!" PHOTO: RANDY CAPAROSO PHOTO: RANDY CAPAROSO Touriga Nacional is just one of the many Portuguese varieties grown at Silvaspoons Vineyard by Ron Silva, Lodi's "Portuguese grape king." From Silvaspoons, our coach took us back to Lodi's Wine & Roses—the luxurious hotel and spa where our sommeliers were lodged. Before and during our amazing wine country style dinner in the Cellar Room of Wine & Roses Hotel, our sommeliers were able to taste a few more wines illustrat- ing the sheer breadth of what Lodi can grow, including: Bright, pretty 2013 Riaza Hunter's Oak Garnacha. Deftly varietal (vivid violet, sweet peppercorn, roasted game) 2012 Fields Family Syrah. Deep, edgy, animated 2012 Klinker Brick Dolcetto. Black, hunky, explosive 2010 Peltier Schatz Family Reserve Teroldego. Svelte, supple 2012 m2 Tormenta Kirschenmann Vineyards Tempranillo (grown in Michael McCay's Lot 13 Vineyard). Value-priced, fruit-forward, varietally "correct" style of Zinfandel by Terlato Wines called The Federalist. varieties of olive trees. Denverites Todd Rocchio of Guard and Grace and Davin Teta of TAG Restaurant harvest Petite Sirah at Mettler Family Vineyards. DAY 3 Fond Farewells

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