This dry Moscato Giallo from Lodi is delicious, with an intensely perfumed nose that follows through in the taste, alongside Meyer lemon, jasmine and cantaloupe. Very unusual, incredibly well priced and modest in alcohol, this lush, ginger-tinged Moscato is this taster’s desert-island white.
This might be one of the most interesting wines being made in California right now, a tiny production, 12%-alcohol Graciano, a grape native to Rioja and barely found in California. The wine is bright and very European, full of white pepper, cranberry and leather notes, high in acid and very clean, though it’s unfined and unfiltered. It lasts and lasts, getting…
A ridiculously hedonistic bottle of Syrah, this hits you first with its heady aromas of strong black olive, tobacco and bacon, then seduces you further with layers of rich berry fruit topped by Syrah-proper pepper. Blended with Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot and fairly high in alcohol (15.5%) this is one for those who love good Syrah.
Bokisch has made a Tempranillo that’s relatively light in body, bursting with an earthy tobacco tone, with a backbone of leather. The palate feels velvety, with soft but structured tannins, bearing black cherry and dark chocolate flavors. This has to be one of California’s best Tempranillos.
Anyone intrigued by the array of alternative whites being produced in California right now should know about this wine, an incredibly priced, low-alcohol sipper that’s also complex enough to pair with a range of lighter foods. Its aromas of apricot and sweet peach are most inviting, and the wine also has a saltiness layered around its acidity that hits in the…
Uvaggio is making a serious case for Lodi Vermentino. This bottling is compelling: savory with herb and green olive notes, and yet freshly fruity and delicate, well integrated and plenty acidic to stand up to a wide range of food, even given its modest 11% alcohol level. A stunner that’ll keep you thinking, and asking for more.
One of six Lodi Native wines from 2012, this Zin is very dark and deep in color and has attractively smoky, spicy aromas. It packs in tremendously rich fruit flavors, full body and a generous, broad texture. Concentrated boysenberry, blueberry and blackberry essences seem bursting to get out as you sip. Delicious but not over the top.
Another stunner from Uvaggio, who is making stellar wines across the board from Lodi grapes, low in alcohol (13%) and fairly priced. This fruity Primitivo can be enjoyed all night from before a meal to during to a bedtime sendoff—it just gets better and better in the glass. Pomegranate, cherry, toffee, they’re all in this soft, easy-drinking wine.