16475 N Locust Tree Rd. Lodi, CA 95240 (map link)
So by this time, two members of our party were tipsy and one had hit palate fatigue (I’ll leave our audience to do the math on that one), which left me as the Last Palate Standing. It was a heavy burden to bear, made lighter by the spectacular wood-fired pizza Vicarmont was serving as part of Lodi Wine and Chocolates.
Before we pulled in, both the Douchenberg (a stretch limo loaded with way-too-slick folks) and Thomas the Tanked Engine (a mini-bus loaded with way-too-drunk folks) had arrived. We quailed in fear — well, those of us who weren’t tipsy quailed in fear — but the owner of Vicarmont had set up great crowd flow for the event.
One of the two tasting areas at Vicarmont. Notice how it’s not a mob scene? Despite the two clown-car-packed vehicles that pulled up just before we arrived? Yeah, that’s some crowd control.
Though there was quite a crowd, the two tasting bars were set up at some distance from each other, one in the barn and the other on the patio. The jeweler and the sweets vendor attracted attention, but not so much that motion-clogging crowds formed. Apparently, the bar setup was an afterthought. When the man running the show wheeled by (we assume he was owner Vic Mettler, but we’ve been wrong before), he told us he’d switched where the bars were located at the last minute. Good choice! It really improved our enjoyment of the venue and the day.
2008 Sauvignon Blanc: Enjoyably drinkable, tasting of grapefruit and minerals and clementines.
2009 Eclectic Pink Rosé: If you think that white zinfandel is too sweet and traditional rosé is too dry, then you’ve found your wine right here. It had a cotton candy smell and a taste that found the sweet spot, no pun intended, between Beringer white zinfandel and snooty rosé. If you have a friend you’re lookin’ to wean off the sugary stuff and on to real wine (you know who you are), this is the wine to do it with.
2007 Merlot: Cinnamon and pepper nose, and peppery on the palate. According to Gross Out Wine, which has a much more detailed review, the 2008 rendition is available at Grocery Outlet for $5. Cheap at twice the price, I say.
2008 Zinfandel: The nose on this was simultaneously sweet and savory, like a steak with a jammy glaze. It was tangy and peppery on the tongue; very enjoyable.