We Love those Lodi Wines! A report on a SNOOTH Virtual Wine Tasting
We have been fortunate to have participated in a number of Snooth.com’s virtual wine tastings over the past few years. And when we participate, we do so on Twitter @Advicesisters and also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonblackman and if you participate on Snooth we are “AdvicesisterA”.
Last month, Snooth.com presented its second virtual tasting featuring wines from the Lodi area of California. Lodi is known as one of the larger production areas for wine grapes in California, and those grapes find themselves in wines produced throughout the state and even the country. But in addition to producing grapes for other wineries, Lodi’s 70 plus vintners put out a wide range of outstanding wines from about 100 different varietals and ranging from popularly priced to super premium offerings. In fact, Lodi is often called the wine grape capital of California due to the large number of varietals that flourish there. The key to Lodi wines is innovation, with winemakers always trying new and exciting things. As this review will show, sometimes they work wonderfully, and sometimes, well if you don’t succeed, try, try again.
The Snooth.com virtual wine tasting, which was held last month featured the always fascinating Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth’s Editor and Chief, along with Markus Bokisch, of Bokisch cellars, and Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.
The tasting featured 4 wines from different Lodi vintners. These were:
Lange Twins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi 2013 (about $15.00)
Borra Vineyards Intuition Field Blend White 2012 (about $22.00)
Bokisch Tempranillo Lodi 2010 (about $22.00)
Ironstone Vineyards Zinfandel Lodi Old Vine Reserve Rous 2010 (about $22.00).
Snooth.com provided The AdviceSisters with the Intuition and the Zinfandel, which we sampled as part of the tasting. As we have written before, virtual wine tastings have all the elements of the in-person variety, but since they are online, participants have the added advantage of gathering with other like-minded people from different places who for practical reasons, couldn’t possibly get together in one room at the same time any other way. This is why Snooth.com is an excellent venue for this type of event since the site has participation from over a million wine lovers and wine professionals from all over the globe. (For more out Snooth and its virtual wine tastings see (http://www.advicesisters.com/travel-food-culture/snooths-virtual-wine-tasting-takes-you-to-argentina-snooth-argentina-wine#.U3frxtJdWAg).
We have long been members of a wine group that meets in Brooklyn and discusses a wide range of wines – some of them quite expensive. By joining a wine tasting group it is possible to sample wines that would never be part of a normal person’s every day budget. Over the years we have sampled everything from plonk to Petrus. Participants are able to interact and discuss what they see, taste and smell in the wine, usually guided by someone who has done some research about what they are drinking. Snooth’s tastings are run by Editor and Chief Gregory Dal Piaz (also known as GDP), and while he gives his guests plenty of leeway to discuss their particular wineries and regions he always beings it back to the principles of the tasting – which are about discovering the wines themselves.
While the tasting included four wines, we sampled only two, the first of which was the Intuition. Borra Vineyards is a 4th generation family run operation that focuses on German style wines. Borra has over 50 varietals in its vineyards and uses them in very interesting and innovative ways, one of which is Intuition. This white wine features the Kerner grape, which is an “old school” Riesling hybrid that is actually commonly grown in the Midwestern part of the United States. The other grapes are Riesling, and Gewürztraminer, making this a very German wine indeed. GDP called the wine a perfect stumper for the Master Sommelier in your family!
The wine is a clear, grassy gold in color with a very light nose. There is a hint of citrus, and a bit of oaky vanilla comes across as the wine warms. In fact, the wine is aged for 9 months in oak giving it this character. On the palate, we found the wine to be a bit sugary on front, but it transitioned quickly to a lighter hue with sufficient minerality. The finish was fruity with some pear and a hint of strawberry. There was also some oak on the finish but just enough. Overall, the wine was well constructed and paired excellently with the scallops that we were eating during the tasting. Its minerality was sufficient to stand up to a range of foods including poultry, fish and salads. This was a wine that we would put on our list not only because it was very versatile, but because we like to experiment with different varietals.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with sampling wine is that it is subject to the whims of time, of corks and of storage. It’s really a shame when you open a 25 year old bottle of Chateau Margaux only to find it to be corked. This was the case with our second wine, the Ironstone Vineyards Zinfandel Lodi Old Vine Reserve Rous 2010, which had undergone re-fermentation in the bottle. While re-fermentation (which is caused when microbes find and metabolize a food source in wine at a time not intended by the winemaker. This can happen when yeast is present and there is still fermentable sugar in the wine, and when it occurs in the bottle generally leaves wine fizzy, cloudy, smelly and generally undrinkable. We were not the only one to have this experience on the tasting. Wine is organic and therefore subject to surprises, sometimes. You never know what will happen, and sometimes, that surprise isn’t a pleasant one.
While we only tasted the one wine (since the other wine was not drink-able), the general discussion suggested that there was a lot of excitement about the wines from Lodi – particularly the interesting use of varietals and blends. Virtual wine tastings, like those offered by Snooth.com provide an excellent opportunity to try different regions and wine types, and they make a great occasion to have a few friends over to share dinner, wine, conversation and their thoughts.