Housley’s Century Oak Winery: In Love with Lodi

As we would rapidly discover over the course of our visit to Lodi during Wine and Chocolates weekend, the problem with visiting wineries during an event that attracts over 5,000 people is that you rarely have intimate tasting experiences. (No, not that kind of intimate. Get your head out of the gutter!) So many people are swarming the wineries that it’s often difficult to even get close enough to the wine bar to get a tasting, let alone some good conversation.

Housley's Century Oak Winery
Mike really thought his hair looked better than that when we left the cottage

Fortunately, Housley’s Century Oak Winery wasn’t like that. Though it may have gotten swarmed late in the day, you can see from our photograph above that we got a little personal attention from the tasting room staff. We also got a few winemaking insights, including…

2009 Chardonnay: “Chardonnay is a bitch,” our tasting room staffer said, then hastily apologized to the women in the group. As we sipped this lemony-smelling, textural, salted-grapefruit wine, he went on to explain that chardonnay is a very sensitive grape, likely to fail if it’s too wet, dry, sunny, cloudy, cold or warm. Sounds like the ficus we adopted from the trash area, but I digress.

2008 Zinfandel: “This is not a massive zin,” he said as he poured it to us. It’s true. The scent made me think of what a wine air freshener would smell like. As I tasted it, I detected delicate tannins and mellow fruit, with an almost tequila finish.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: Every member of the party said “mmmm” as we smelled this one. It had a very fruity nose, which made the flavor all the more surprising to me. You could really taste the grape skins in this one, more than I generally prefer.

2006 Adam Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was a mix of the Reserve and Estate Cab. It smelled of caramel and fruit and had a strong overlay of oak on the tongue.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine has medalled at every competition it’s been entered in. For our purposes, it was also a medal, as it was a Mokelumne River appellation wine, making it the second appellation we tasted on the trip. (Hooray!)