D’Art Wines: In Love with Lodi

There was still a half hour left before tasting hours concluded. Carissa demanded port. And I wasn’t willing to give up on tasting just yet. So we pulled up at a winery that came highly recommended by many sources, including the owner of the house we were renting (more on that later), D’Art Wines.

D’Art Wines is both a play on the word “art” and on the name of the owners, Dave and Helen Dart. The tasting room itself is very spacious, but not quite enough for the crowds that were thronging it. The tasting room staff looked weary, but kept smiles on their faces as they served the last several hundred stragglers.

Clearly I, too, had hit the limits of my endurance; I never once broke out my mobile phone to photograph our experience at this tasting room. I thought I would have palate fatigue at this point, but these excellent wines cut through and made me realize there was something worth noticing. It’s definitely a spot to revisit, and not just for the photo ops.

2009 Garnacha: It smelled like chocolate frosting and tasted creamy and deep, like a tart Red Velvet cake with a hint of cinnamon.

2009 Tempranillo: Earthy spicy scent and fruity spicy flavor. This is the sort of wine that Mike loves, but by this time he was far too palate-fatigued to be a good judge. Someday I’ll bring him back so he can taste it again.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon: This smelled of intense fruit and spice. It had deep, rich fruit on the palate as well.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: Our tasting room pourer said, “This is bolder, chewier and more fruit forward.” I noticed a scent like perfume and a musky fruity taste.

Dog Day Red: The website describes this wine as “a pure mutt.” We saw the adorable dog that appears on the label running through the tasting room as we sipped this. It had the exact scent that you’d subtly spray around an LA wine store to make visitors want to buy. It was dry enough to drink with steak but sweet enough to have with cheese, or maybe even certain desserts. But there’s an even better candidate for dessert…

Port: This was what port should be. There was no bitter edge on the finish. It was all just smooth, sweet pleasure.

We were lucky enough to get some barrel tastings after the port, but all the wine must have gone to my head, because I put my notebook away and just enjoyed the wine. Sorry, loyal readers (all two of you), but you’ll just have to imagine what those barrel tastings were like.

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