I have to admit that we were pretty geeked up trying these sample wines courtesy of snooth.com and the virtual wine tasting; and all the wines were from Lodi, California and all lesser known varietals. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have discovered the wines of Lodi, I guess you can say that I have lived a sheltered childhood, but I do think that most of the wine growing areas unwillingly play second fiddle to Napa and Sonoma. I actually think that all of the other wine growing areas must work even harder, and in some cases even deliver a much better value and bang for the buck. I would venture to say that one of the co-hosts of the even would agree and that was Adam Mettler who is the Director of Wine Operations/Lead Winemaker for Michael David Winery and he is also the Winemaker at Mettler Family Vineyards, and both are in Lodi, so his commute is not to bad. I also have to mention that Adan Mettler was named Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
The third wine of the evening was Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards Aglianico Rosé River Ranch Vineyard Lodi 2018. Lange Twins Winery has five generations of growing sustainable wine growers and in 2006 opened a winery. They have attained the Lodi Rules Sustainable Winegrowing Certified Green status and gaining recognition for their work. In 2015 that planted almost seven acres of Aglianico vines, a native to southern Italy and known for being a late blooming variety. Aglianico is know for having firm tannins, high acidity and can offer notes of plum and chocolate especially after aging and cellaring. This wine is an exclusive winery offering this year and I found that as a Rosé this wine was fresh and gave me notes of strawberries and rhubarb, but the wine was dry and not sweet.
The fourth wine of the evening was the first red as well. The Mettler Family Vineyards Estate Grown Pinotage Lodi 2016 was an interesting choice. The Mettler family is one of the oldest families in Lodi since the late 1800’s and wine growers for six generations. They have attained the Lodi Rules Sustainable Winegrowing Certified Green status and then in 2010 went to the next level CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that was developed in 1925, but the first commercial planting was done in 1943. Pinotage is a portmanteau from the two grapes, Pinot Noir and Cinsaut which is known locally as Hermitage. I am not an authority on Pinotage by no means, but this was the first time that I did not notice a strong influence of terroir, and I may be naïve, but I thought this variety tended to evoke the land. The nose promised dark fruit and a wispiness of smoke, the taste delivered some black cherry with mild acidity and moderate tannins. My Bride is still reticent about Pinotage, but she is slowly appreciating the wines we have had.