Leaves are falling and there may be a chill in the air, but I am always in the mood for white wines. If you are like me, continuously looking for the perfect food and wine pairings, then you have to have an arsenal of white wines in your cellars. Lodi white wines are perfect for year-round enjoyment.
Lodi has great success with its red wines and high accolades for its old-vine zinfandels vineyards, that date back to the 1880s. Even though Lodi is best known for its reds, today’s focus is on Lodi’s white wines. Lodi is a hidden gem amongst the wine regions of California. To find out more about what makes Lodi so unique, click here.
Located east of San Francisco, Lodi is a region known for its big, bold, and fruity red wines. Oh how wonderful these wines are, but if elegant and refined wines are more your style, then Lodi has wines for you too. Lodi’s elegance is most notable in these six white wine. You will be impressed by the quality, freshness and individuality of these whites. Beyond the widely popular Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and Pinot Grigios, varieties like Albariño, Chenin Blanc, Kerner and Clairette Blanche are gaining a solid foothold in Lodi.
Producing white wine is not an afterthought for these six producers, there is great passion, knowledge and experience. Several of these wines are crafted from rare and unique grape varieties not commonly found in California.
Swiss-born winemaker and owner Markus Niggli produces this refreshing Kerner from Mokulme Glen Vineyards. Markus’s goal is to express the vineyard and each vintage as authentically as possible. This Kerner shows his European influence with his fresh, flinty and racy style.
Wine Notes – The grapes for this wine are grown along the base of the Mokuleme River. Due to the influences of the river, the temperatures drop sharply at night, which is ideal for the grapes. This is a light flinty style of wine with lots of fresh lemons, lime, and stonefruit on the palate. It is a fresh, crisp and clean wine that goes well with food. A very unique wine that is also low in alcohol.
Karen Birmingham is a winemaker at LangheTwins. The Langhe family has deep roots in Lodi, farming since the 1870s. Karen says Lodi winemaking has seen an evolution in the wines and in the grape varieties grown. LangheTwins wines have great acidity, with nice balance and lower alcohol. Karen’s winemaking philosophy is very straightforward, “if you have the best quality fruit, winemaking is very simple”.
Wine Notes – The Jahant Woods Vineyards are located in the Jahant AVA and the wine is a true reflection of the soil, the climate and the vineyards. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the more traditional varieties of the region but this particular wine is crafted from a unique Musqué selection. The resulting wine is tropical and floral. These bright flavors are balanced by a soft texture from sur-lie aging, creating a wine with an even mouthfeel.
Sue Tipton, owner of Acquiesce winery is one of the early pioneers of white wine growing in Lodi. Her winery is solely focused on Rhône white grape varieties. She grows six white Rhône varieties – Picpoul Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Clairette Blanche. Their grape clones are Tablas Creek cuttings from the famous French Château de Beaucastel Winery.
Wine Notes – Clairette Blanche is a new variety for northern California. This oval-shaped grape is usually used as a blending grape in the Southern Rhône. This wine is a superstar right out of the gate! Great grapefruit, violet, lavender, mineral aromas, fennel and herbs de Provence-like qualities. The mouthfeel is medium-full, fairly dense with an emphatically dry, mineral focused finish.
Markus and Liz Bokisch started Bokisch Vineyards in 2000. They planted Albariño in 1999 with cuttings from Spain. Marcus was the first to grow Albariño in Lodi and has since set a trend. Now there are over a dozen producers making Albariño in Lodi. Elyse Perry, winemaker for Bokisch makes three Albariño. Terra Alta is their flagship Albariño from their Terra Alta Vineyard.
Wine Notes – Terra Alta Vineyards in Clemens Hills has volcanic clay soils with low vigor vines. This is a true Rías Baixas style Albariño from Lodi. This well balanced Albariño that has a wonderful pale platinum color with engaging aromatics of tangerine zest, star fruit, orange blossom and lychee. It has a beautifully clean and long finish.
The Panella family is behind Oak Farm vineyards. This Fiano is from their estate, which is on the western side of the appellation in the Mokelumne River AVA. This is a very special wine for the Panella family since they are from Avelino in Italy, and Fiano is the predominant grape variety of the region.
Wine Notes – There are beautiful perfume and citrus notes on the nose. This Fiano has a silky texture and a flinty mineral note. On the palate, there are notes of melons, apricots and buttered pecans. It is bright and fresh with vibrant notes of sea stone and orange peel. There is an elegant and memorable long finish.
Peltier is a farming family with generations of experience producing the highest quality fruit from their estate-grown vineyards. Susy Rodriguez Vasquez is the winemaker at Peltier Winery. Preeminence is a premium white blend(Chardonnay, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc). The grapes for this wine come from the Cosumnes River area which is very cool and windy with a large diurnal range. This gives the grapes nice aromatics and elegance.
Wine Notes – Preeminence is the perfect blend of Chardonnay, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc. Each varietal is fermented separately to enhance the natural characteristics of each variety. The result is a soft, silky elegant white wine. There are notes of apricot, pineapple, muscat, vanilla and caramel. The wine is very refreshing and balanced.