Lodi Wine Cellars is a team effort by several local winemakers, who have joined together to create a comfortable space at which they can all sell their wines. When we walked in, one of the winemakers was kicked back on a sofa in the corner, watching the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the big screen TV in the corner. Funny, since we’d just fled the crowds at the epicenter of the AT&T in order to come to Lodi!
That’s my purse under the bar. Winemakers and boyfriend, please note: I will love you a lot more if you put purse hooks under the bar.
McKay Cellars had a table set up at the back exclusively for tasting their wines. Our first sampling was an A/B test – at least that’s what I, being a geek, would call it. Others might call it “The Zin Challenge.” We were offered two different versions of the 2008 Equity Zin, and told to vote as to which one we liked.
Equity Zin #2 had a hint of soda pop on the nose, and was loaded with tasty cherries, berries and a savoy umami flavor when tasted.
Equity Zin #3 was less sweet but still had a fruity nose. It was still ripe with cherries and berries, but had a few more tannins.
I can’t actually remember which one I voted for, but I do remember that our party was split right down the middle and canceled each others’ votes out.
2007 Truluck’s Zinfandel: This wine got a double gold and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. It smells of sweet grapes and has a fruity flavor, but with a complex, scotch-like finish.
Our group next sauntered over to the bar (see photo above) to sample wines from the other winery tasting at Lodi Wine Cellars, Benson Ferry. Benson Ferry also had a great painting on the wall and banners with their labels hanging from the ceiling.
2008 Chardonnay: This was a very citrus-y, mineral-y chardonnay. Very easy drinking. Mike noted that it had a burst of pineapple.
2009 Pinot Noir: This smells like something that Jules on Cougar Town would drink (raise your hand if you teared up at the death of Big Joe!). Its scent was loaded with prunes, pepper and cinnamon. The flavor was full, too, and “just darn tasty,” I wrote in my notes. It wasn’t too fruity nor too astringent, just 100% easy drinking.
2004 Shiraz: It smelled like caramelized plums and tasted like a savory braised plum creme brulee.
2006 93240 Old Vine Zinfandel: This Benson Ferry sublabel had a powdery raisin scent and a syrupy fruit and honey flavor. According to the tasting room staffer, it’s their most popular wine. I liked it, but it was not my favorite of the group.
2008 Benson Ferry Old Vine Zinfandel: This had a tart cherry scent and a flavor that was a mix of sweet cherries, brown sugar and toasted oak.
2006 9 x 9 Zinfandel: In case you haven’t caught on yet, Lodi less than threes Zinfandel (as the kids are saying nowadays). Or perhaps the reverse. Either way, this zinfandel had a ripe candy cherry scent. It tasted of robust fruit, but there didn’t seem to be many layers to it.
Port: This had a musky warm brown sugar and plum juice scent and a plum pudding sauce taste.