Exploring Lodi Wines – German and Austrian Varieties

When most people think Lodi wine, they tend to think of Zinfandel.  While the region is definitely well-known for big, rich Zins, there are so many other varieties being grown in the region.  Over the years, I have come to enjoy Old World-styled Cinsault & Chenin Blanc from Lodi but just had the chance to sip my way through some fantastic German & Austrian varieties from Lodi’s Mokelumne Glen Vineyard via a BrandLive tasting.  Exploring Lodi wines outside of Zinfandel has really shown me the potential the region has for making interesting, balanced wines.  Here are my tasting notes from the event:

The Lodi Lineup
The Lodi Lineup

Holman Cellars 2015 Uncharted Lodi Bacchus

Bacchus…have you ever tried it?  I hadn’t either until this tasting.  Bacchus, a cross between Riesling and Silvaner, is traditionally grown in Germany and tends to have powerful flavors.  Holman Cellars Bacchus spent 3 days on the skin and was fermented in stainless steel.  It has rich tastes of apricots, citrus, and nutmeg with surprisingly vibrant acidity for the grape.  Nice texture and complexity! (14% alcohol, $25)

Markus Wine Co. 2014 Nimmo Lodi White Wine

Markus Wine Co.’s Nimmo is incredibly interesting to drink.  This wine is a blend of 71% Kerner, 13% Gewürztraminer, 11% Riesling, and 5% Bacchus fermented with native yeasts.  Nimmo is fermented in stainless steel and aged for 9 months in 60% new French oak.  The palate is refreshing & bright with tastes of citrus, spice, and minerals.  There is also a unique texture, noticeable oak influence, and bright acid.  An interesting wine that evolves significantly with air. (13.8% alcohol, $22)

Hatton Daniels 2015 Lodi Zweigelt

I drink Zweigelt from Austria somewhat regularly but I never knew the grape existed in Lodi.  Hatton Daniels did a terrific job with this zero-sulfur wine.  Light-bodied with tastes of juicy, red fruit and pepper, this wine is a perfect warm weather sipper.  Serve slightly chilled and be prepared for it to disappear quickly! (11.9% alcohol, $24)

m2 Wines 2014 Belle Étoile Blanche

I love ending a meal with dessert wine and strong cheeses so I was excited to try m2 Wines late-harvest Belle Étoile Blanche.  It is a blend of 35% Reislaner, 25% Weissburgunder, 20% Riesling, and 20% Gewürztraminer aged in stainless steel & neutral oak.  The palate offers ripe tastes of apricot and citrus wrapped in sweet honey.  Crisp, clean, and delightful at the end of a meal! (13.3% alcohol, $24)

*Media Samples

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