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Zinfandel is California’s grape, and in Lodi Zinfandel is king. Nestled between the Sierra Foothills and the San Francisco Bay Delta, Lodi offers the ideal climate for producing ripe full-flavored Zins. Sitting at the edge of the Sacramento River Delta, Lodi benefits from the distinctive bay delta breezes that cool the region in the afternoon and evenings creating characteristic Lodi Zinfandel: ripe forward fruit with soft polished tannins. Dating back to the late 1800’s, Lodi has a long proud history of producing some of the finest Zinfandel grapes in the state. These distinctive vineyards survived prohibition by packing and shipping grapes east for home winemakers, and survived through the planting booms of the 70’s and 80’s by filling the tremendous growth for White Zinfandel. The area is now emerging as producer of some of the finest Zinfandel wines being made in California. Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World producing over 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel.
OAK RIDGE OZV OLD VINE ZINFANDEL
List price 11.50; our price 9.99
Oak Ridge Winery was founded in 1934 as a winemaking cooperative of local growers. Winegrower Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Rocky Reynolds, bought the Winery in 2001. Much of their improvements are state of the art, but some things can’t be improved upon, like the building for Lodi’s first tasting room. For nearly half a century visitors have tasted and purchased wines within a converted 50,000 gallon redwood tank. This is a robust Zin from the region’s 50-100 year old vines. It is jammy with raspberry, milk chocolate and mocha flavors. It has soft tannins and a supple mouthfeel.
2008 JESSIE’S GROVE WINERY EARTH, ZIN & FIRE LODI ZINFANDEL
List price 15.00; our price 12.50
The grapes for the “Earth, Zin & Fire” Zinfandel are typically cold-soaked for 48 hours after crushing and prior to allowing it to ferment. This gives the wine a deep opaque red-purple color and an intense nose, with forward fruit and a dense quality to the berry flavors and the exotic spice. The soft tannins allow for the smooth finish.
2009 KLINKER BRICK ZINFANDEL, LODI
List price 18.00; our price 14.99The Old Vine Zin from Klinker Brick comes from vines that average about 85 years grown in Lodi along the Mokelumne River. Aged in American oak for 14 months, it leads with wild strawberry aromas, plums, cedar and vanilla. There’s good structure to support the vanilla, cherry cola fruit and soft tannins on the finish. Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine likes this wine, too: “There is no question that Zinfandel can get very ripe in Lodi, and this plush, mouth-coasting bottling very much makes the point, but its wide-open style and its jammy richness are markers of what the district does the best. It can take of few years of age even though it does not need it.”
2009 METTLER FAMILY VINEYARDS
OLD VINE ZINFANDEL, “EPICENTER”
List price 18.00; our price 15.99
Five generations of Mettlers have farmed in Lodi, but it wasn’t until the family produced the very first vintage of Mettler Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, in 1999, that selling wine joined the selling of grapes. This first Cab was ranked among the Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Cabernet Sauvignons in the World,” and subsequent vintages have fared just as well. Still, we think of Mettler as a producer of great Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. This Zin is done in the plumy style highlighting tart black currant fruit; with a full bodied finish.
2007 OAK RIDGE MOSS ROXX ANCIENT VINE ZINFANDEL
List price 24.00; our price 19.95
The wine is super-ripe and loaded with showy mocha tinged oak. The dried cherry and cassis aromas lead to zesty sage flavors. Mature round tannins accent the generous raspberry, chocolate, mocha and spice flavors of the wine. This Zinfandel is truly a delectable expression of Lodi’s signature terroir.