California’s Lodi region is known for its wide range of varietals, irreverent approach to winemaking, and affordable prices, and to showcase all of the above, a sextet of Lodi’s most notable winemakers recently got together to showcase their wares via a Facebook webinar. The theme: white wines, many of which are rarely produced on American soil.
We tasted through the wines with the hands that crafted them. Thoughts on all wines tasted follow, with more than a few surprising winners in the mix.
2018 Acquiesce Clairette Blanche – 100% clairette blanche, an obscure French varietal, as you might expect, which I’ve never actually encountered. Heavily perfumed but filtered through a doughy character, there’s a certain restraint here that cries out for more acidity, which apparently the grape is naturally lacking. The finish here is on the muddy side, with loads of white flowers and honeysuckle giving the back end a hint of citrus… just not enough of one. B- / $28
2019 Bokisch Terra Albariño Terra Alta Vineyard – Fresh and summery but with an herbal edge to it, there’s less of the sourness that you often find in Spanish albarino here, though notes of grapefruit peel and melon pop with a fruity, acidic brightness, slowly fading as it finds its way to a lightly creamy finish. A- / $22
2018 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Jahant Woods Vineyard – Clean and quite fruity, this sauvignon blanc has more of a New Zealand structure, with a pineapple element that fades toward a note of cinnamon-laced applesauce. Straightforward and a bit chewy, with a hint of coconut on the back end. B+ / $20
2019 Markus Wine Co. Nativo – A blend of 80% Kerner, plus Bacchus and Riesling. Lively and vibrant, this has the acidity of a classic Old World Kerner, filtered through a sheen of flowers and perfume driven by that Riesling. Clean and lemony, with a brisk yet lightly sweet finish. A- / $22
2019 Oak Farm Fiano – A bold grapefruit and lemon punch leads the way on this acid-heavy bottling, again a punchy exploration of juicy citrus and the lightest hint of orange blossoms. An excellent aperitif wine, but it pairs delightfully with all manner of lighter fare. A- / $26
2018 Peltier Preeminence – A fun blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vermentino. It’s brisk and acidic up front, then the wine shows a light sweetness, with touches of apricot jam and slightly earthy honey. Gentle, lemony, and dusted just so with vanilla and oak, it’s delightfully balanced and works well alone or with spicier fare. A / $30