In fact, you may be surprised to discover, that Zinfandel only accounts for about 25% of Lodi’s wine production. Or that is home to at least 100 grape varieties. And approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes! That’s more vineyard acreage than Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino and Lake counties combined. With such a wealth of both grapes and grape varieties, Lodi truly offers something for every wine lover’s palate – from everyday table wines to fine wine.
How is it possible to grow such a diverse array of grape varieties in Lodi?
First, let’s dispel a myth. Lodi is not situated in the hot inland Central Valley. It is located 100 miles east of San Francisco, on the edge of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Because of its location, the Lodi wine region enjoys a Mediterranean climate that is ideal for grape development, with warm, not blistering hot, days and afternoon “delta” breezes leading to cool nights. Add a fascinating mix of multi-generational winemakers and growers, up and coming new winemakers, and diverse soils, and you’ll find that Lodi is truly wine region that offers something for everyone.
It’s also a wine region that fosters experimentation in both winemaking and wine tasting. In other words, Lodi offers a great opportunity to break out of your wine rut and try wine crafted from grape varieties with which you might not be familiar. For example, if you enjoy a robust Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend, Michael David’s Petite Petit offers a great alternative. It’s a blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot grapes with a robust, blueberry, plum and vanilla character. And as with Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s a great match for a grilled steak and other hearty beef dishes. And at under $20 it offers great value
Are you a fan of Pinot Noir? Consider the McCay Cellars Grenache. It’s a wine that offers a similar elegant character with aromatic red fruits, licorice, and black pepper aromas, with vibrant acidity and cherry, plum and spice flavors. Fermented on native yeast and raised in neutral oak, it would be a great wine for your Thanksgiving table.
What about white wines?
If you're a fan of Moscato, consider the Ironstone Cellars Obsession. Obsession is predominately a blend of the Symphony grape variety, created at the University of California Davis in 1948 by Dr. Harold Olmo. It’s a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris that thrives in the mineral-rich soils of Lodi. The wine opens with exuberant floral, tropical and stone fruit aromas. Alluring orange blossom and white flowers leap from the glass. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, off dry and fresh with ample ripe peach, melon, and pineapple flavors. It makes for a great aperitif. Pair with prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe or spicy fare.
For you, Chardonnay lovers, consider the Acquiesce Viognier. It’s a bit more exotic than your average Chardonnay, but offers some of the same textural weight with an aromatic honeyed white peach, citrus and a hint of spice character. Pair with fish, Asian dishes, vegetables and citrus salads.
And that’s just for starters! With a vast array of French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian and Southern Rhone grape varieties Lodi has wine to suit virtually every palate!