The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 98 of 124

Zinfandels are transparent, they are lively, less heavy, different from Zinfandels com- ing off of loamier soils. . . their colors may be lighter, but in lieu of that you get spicy notes and steelier structures in this part of Lodi." Later, with the sun setting in an orange blaze of glory over the vines at Acquiesce Winery, located on Lodi's east side, the sommeliers enjoyed an al fresco dinner after tasting through this estate's pure fruit/acid driven, 100% unoaked, contem- porary style wines, including varietal whites fashioned from estate-grown Picpoul, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Roussanne, plus a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc inspired Belle Blanc—the latter, a crisp yet fleshy white shimmering with lemon, lilac and lavender scented sensations derived from Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier. 98 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 Other wineries displaying the multiplicity of fruits of Lodi's labors during the sunset reception and dinner included: McConnell Estates, showing their suave, silky Tempranillo and bright perky Merlot, both grown in Lodi's Cosumnes River AVA. The Lucas Winery's earthy, finesseful, almost Burgundian style 2014 ZinStar Vineyard Zinfandel from the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River. Estate Crush—Lodi's custom crush urban winery—showcasing its balanced approach to winemaking, epitomized by proprietor Bob and Alison Colarossi's violet nuanced 2013 Stellina Zinfandel, from Lodi's west side. McCay Cellars' Michael McCay, pouring his profoundly earthy, Southern French–like 2012 Carignane; a slinky, pepper spiced, Pinot Noir-ish 2012 Grenache; a delicately flowery yet bone dry 2014 blend of mostly Vermentino and Verdelho called Très Blanc; and an exquisitely dry, earth nuanced, Provençal-ish 2014 Rosé. DAY 2 Harvest Reveille, Sustainability & Diversity This was the day when our visiting sommeliers demonstrated their own brand of Lodi moxie: popping out of bed at 5:00 AM for their wake- up coffee, before loading up and heading out to Mohr-Fry Ranches to hand-pick with one of the Fry family's picking crews, in a 73-year- old Zinfandel block (one of their "younger" plantings). Granted, ten Mohr-Fry pickers could easily harvest more than twice as much Zinfandel as our 28 sommeliers, but working with the crew to learn how to pick out only the fin- est clusters, hanging as high as six feet and as low as two inches off the ground, gave our group a newfound appreciation of the exact- ing work done year-round in these vineyards. Bindel describes it as an "epic experience," and Bertao expressed his gratitude to "the profes- sional picking crew who graciously tolerated our intrusion." Immediately following a breakfast of egg, bacon and potato burritos—consumed while sitting under the ancient vines of Mohr-Fry Ranches—we visited with LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards, owned by one of Lodi's largest and oldest family operations, based in Lodi's Jahant AVA. Brad Lange, who runs their multi-faceted business with his identical twin Randy (grape growing as well as custom crush winemaking for multiple winer- ies, including their own LangeTwins brand), talked to us about how seriously they take their sustainable practices. LangeTwins is 100% certified under the industry's Winemaker David Akiyoshi of LangeTwins Family Winery presents wine and food matches in the barrel room. PHOTO: JOHN CURLEY PHOTO: JOHN CURLEY Daniel Boyer of Mastro's Ocean Club, Las Vegas, shows off Zinfandel just picked from 73-year-old vines at Mohr-Fry Ranch.

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