It’s that time of year again. The grape harvest is winding down, leaves are turning various shades of warm autumn colors as if to offset cooler days and nights, pumpkin spice abounds and football season is in full swing.
The change in season is accompanied by a change of foods on our tables from backyard cookouts and lighter fare to more substantial comfort foods. And as the foods on our tables change to reflect the season, the wines in our glasses change too.
Here are five Lodi red wines that are $20 or less that offer easygoing weeknight affordability, deliciousness and refreshment, while simultaneously offering touches of nuance and complexity should consider contemplating their character.
Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards - 2014 Estate Old Vine Zinfandel; $15.00
The Lange family has been growing sustainable wine grapes in the Lodi Appellation for five generations. In 2006 they opened a winery to showcase their passion for growing wine grapes.
This charming Old Vine Zinfandel is a medley of multiple lots that are individually crafted and blended together to create a wine with a lush spicy blackberry character.
Bokisch Vineyards - 2014 Garnacha; $20
Liz and Markus Bokisch of Bokisch Vineyards have led the way for Iberian grape varieties in the Lodi region. After working in the Spanish wine industry for years, they returned to California and purchased their Terra Alta Vineyards property in the Clements Hills. They produced their first vintage of wines under the Bokisch label in 2001.
This gorgeous Garnacha (a.k.a. “Grenache”) has a tantalizing rose petal, cassis, raspberry, and essence of strawberry rhubarb character with suave dry tannins.
Klinker Brick Winery - 2014 Farrah Syrah; $20
Steve and Lori Felten are fifth generation grape growers who have preserved family tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.
This lovely full-bodied Syrah has a ripe plum, blackberry, cacao and exotic spice character with subtle earthy floral notes and a long satisfying finish.
Michael David Winery - 2014 Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon; $20.00
The Phillips family has been farming since their Great Great Grandfather Andrew Harshner and his wife Lucille homesteaded 160 acres near the town of Lodi, following the Civil War in the 1860. For more than 100 years, the family has farmed various vegetables and fruits. Of course, the fruit they most renowned for are wine grapes. They’ve been Lodi vintners for over 30 years!
This bold, delicious wine has a Bing cherry, plum, fig toasted oak character with refined tannins.
Borra Vineyards - 2014 Fusion Red; $19.99
Steve Borra started Lodi’s very first tiny bonded boutique winery behind a backyard shack in 1975 on Armstrong Road. Their cozy tasting room adjoins the winery near where Steve’s mother was born, surrounded by idyllic vines and the homes of three entire generations of Borra’s. Borra crafts unique and innovative crisp whites and luscious red wines.
The Fusion Red is a blend of 60% Syrah, 14% Petite Sirah, 25% Zinfandel, 1% Mourvèdre that has a dry and delicious, crowd-pleasing tart cherry, plum and strawberry and peppery spice character with an appealing kiss of savoriness!
These charming everyday reds are the perfect wines for transitioning from Lodi’s Indian Summer to the cooler days and nights of Fall.