Lodi By the Bay

Treasure Island doubled as a great vantage point for watching Fleet Week activities and sampling some cool wines this weekend .

USS Carl Vinson on SF Bay for Fleet Week 2011

The occasion was the Lodi Wine Fest on Saturday, Oct. 8, when the best wines from the area were poured on a sun-splashed afternoon.

Lodi has a well-earned reputation for zinfandel, but it’s not a one-act play when it comes to wine.

I found several  other really good wines that combined great quality with good value.

White Wines Shine

The 2009 Chardonnay/Marsanne ($12) from Scotto Family Cellars stood out with lovely green apple fruit, with lemony highlights and a touch of melon. Scotto also puts out a great 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel with beautiful black cherry and pepper flavors.

Gen5 makes a 2010 Lodi Chardonnay with a definite lemony edge that tasted great with a chunk of sourdough and a couple of green olives.

Harney Lane Winery’s 2010 Albarino is worth a try if you like lemon zest and citrus fruit.

This summertime sipper, made from a grape popularized in Spain and Portugal, features a lemon-lime flavor and crispness that cries out for a picnic, blanket and sunny afternoon.

Well-Made Reds

Langetwins Winery (which also makes the Gen5 wines) showed a great Bordeaux-style blend featuring petit verdot, merlot, cabernet and malbec. The 2008 Midnight Reserve ($30) is big, bold and expressive with purple fruits and finely integrated tannins.

I really liked several Petite Sirahs coming from the Lodi Appellation, which sits about 90 miles east of San Francisco.

Macchia’s 2009 Rebellious Petite Sirah ($24) tasted of sweet jam and fine tannins.

Maley Brothers 2006 Petite Sirah had a tart edge and some of the same jammy fruit for a nice coupling.

Another tasty 2007 Hybrid Petite Sirah ($10) from Peltier Station showed a bit more complex profile with high-toned red fruit, a touch of black pepper  and a rich, round overall feel in the mouth.

You don’t  often see Cabernet Franc, which is generally a blending grape, bottled all by itself, but don’t tell that to Mike McCay at McCay Cellars.

McCay made a great 2008 Cabernet Franc ($28) that marries spicy raspberry flavors with dusty tannins for a winning combination. It will need a bit of age, or aeration, to fully develop, but this wine is definitely a winner.

There are only a few cabernet sauvignons from Lodi that rise above average.

A new favorite is The Nymph 2009 from Stama Winery. This $28 wine, which was aged in French oak, features a nice firm structure anchored by dark cherry fruit with dusty tannins.


I’ve been in love with Lodi zinfandels for more than 20 years, having tasted a wide range of these wines from most of the major producers.

I found another example of good red zin  at the Lodi tasting from Berghold Vineyards and Winery. The 2007 Berghold Zinfandel ($23) is a smooth-drinking wine with a taste of plum jam.

The 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel ($28) from Jeremy Wine Co. was another gorgeous Lodi zin. The rich grape jam fruit provided a smooth mouthful of flavors that were hard to resist.


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One Response to “Lodi By the Bay”

  1. Robyn Grace Jennings Says:


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