You’ll find Oak Farm Vineyards in the sleepy area known as California’s Lodi region. While Lodi is virtually synonymous with zinfandel, Oak Farm also produces an unusual varietal for this region: Barbera. Let’s take a look at it, plus a zin blend.
2017 Oak Farm Barbera Lodi – This estate-grown barbera is sweeter than expected, but it’s still got lots of classic herbal and spice elements, including rosemary, clove, and an oily leather note. It’s all layered on top of a rich cherry and blackcurrant character that pegs it as a hot-weather offering, and a fairly high-alcohol one at that. The jammy notes on the finish are tempered nicely by pairing with a hearty meal, but it drinks well in cooler weather, too. B+ / $35
2018 Oak Farm Tievoli Red Blend Lodi – Tievoli is “I love it” backwards. A blend of 73% zinfandel, 18% barbera, and 9% petite sirah — but it may as well be all zin, based on how it comes across on the palate. By that, I mean it’s a fruit-heavy experience, filtered here through layers of raw cookie dough and almond paste. Hints of the cherry from the Barbera reviewed above peek through, but they’re tamped down by notes of what comes across as a mix of molasses and earthy mushroom notes, particularly on the finish. I guess I love it, backwards? B- / $22