All good things must come to an end, and we were down to the last two samples for the virtual wine tasting courtesy of snooth.com. There were two themes that were running through this wine tasting. One theme was grape varietals that are not the “big three” to the mass markets and the ones that get all of the press. The other theme was about Lodi and what a great grape growing area it is in California, where it was once only considered suitable for Zinfandel, the area has blossomed with its ability to let other grapes blossom and to be nurtured into another awesome community that should be on the bucket list for wine lovers. This also leads me to introduce the third co-host of the evening and that is Stuart Spencer, who is the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission and owner/winemaker of St. Amant Winer. While I cannot claim to know any of the co-hosts of the evening, there were several enjoying the virtual wine tasting with me, that I have not actually met, but I have become friends with in the wine blogging community.
The penultimate wine of the evening was Prie Vineyards Ancient Vine (1900) Block 4 Spenker Vineyards Carignane Lodi 2016. John and Lisa Gash were from Livermore, California and their first vintage was in 2005. In 2012 they purchased the Cliff Mettler house and vineyard and constructed the Lodi winery in 2013. The tasting room was built in 2015. Carignane is the California version for the grape known as Carignan or Carinena, Carignan Noir, Carignano, Mazuelo, Gragnano, Pinot Evara or Samso. The grape is native to the Aragon region of Spain and shines in the Priorat. The grape also does very well in the Languedoc-Roussillon. It has long been favored for blending and being harmonious with other grapes. Carignane is known for evoking dark fruits and pepper, so it is not surprising that it is described often as being spicy and savory. The wine had a good solid nose and I thought it was going to be really fruit-forward, but I found it very solid and balanced, with some cherry, some licorice and some pepper, the type of wine that I really like to “chew” as we used to say. I think this wine will sell out rather quickly, as there were only seventy cases produced.
The last wine of the evening, was the one that my Bride was chomping at the bit, to try, as it is her favorite grape. The Michael David Winery “Inkblot” Cabernet Franc Lodi 2016 was worth waiting for. The winery was founded in 1984 by the brothers Michael and David Phillips, and they represent the fifth generation of Lodi grape farmers and their family goes back to 1850 in the area. Their most famous wine is “The Seven Deadly Zins” that is produced from their seven-hundred-fifty acres. The “Inkblot” Cabernet Franc comes from a nine-acre vineyard and spends sixteen months in French Oak, of which thirty-five percent is new. We are both biased towards this grape, and this wine was so well made that it made us both smile with purple teeth. The nose taunted us with cherries, it gave us a nice elegant taste with clean tannins and it lingered with some fruit and some mocha. I think this would be a hell of a wine after about five years in the cellar. This was just a wonderful evening of wines, and all of the wines were in the affordable price range, as the most expensive wine had a Suggested Retail Price of $35.00. It was our pleasure to be included in this virtual wine tasting and another thank you to Snooth. I am glad that I could give my thoughts that evening, tasting and typing away, and now reporting more leisurely while getting a chance to relive the wines.
Oddest thing, I actually smelled a wine briefly as I was reading your description, then it was gone. No windows open, no actual wine in sight. A transitory episode of synesthesia where words become smells, I suppose. Good show.
Thank you very much, and I am impressed, because I am not known for using descriptors. It may be the impetus for you to find these wines to try. Thank you for stopping by. – John
Thank you. We’re glad you enjoyed the carignane. You are correct in that it typically sells out in 3-4 months even though we make more each year. It just seems to have a little something for everyone.
Lisa, thank you for stopping by and I enjoyed your wine that I received from Snooth. Keep up the good work. – John