Macchia: In Love with Lodi

As we approached Macchia we knew it was a happening place. Cars lined both sides of the country lane in front of the facility, and as we parked and got out of the car we heard the sounds of a live band playing rock and roll. We moseyed on in, and it turns out the band was not the main draw. Clearly people were there for the wines – the tasting room was packed!

Macchia Winery
This was taken during a rare lull in the tasting room action

Macchia’s main public venue is in a converted house. The tasting room looks like it was once the living room, with an adjacent dining room serving as overflow space. When we visited, the overflow room had a table with some very tasty meatballs in what we learned was a Zinfandel/habanero reduction. Wow, those were good! [Note: Nikki the vegetarian seethes with envy.] The tasting room maintains a sense of intimacy, but also has an elegant feel.

Macchia Winery
If you were taking this photo the meatballs [that you didn't get to eat because THE PHOTOGRAPHER IS A VEGETARIAN DAMN IT - Nikki, who is not bitter at all] would be just to your right.

The band was playing on a stage at one end of a large lawn outside. Between the house and lawn was a barrel-tasting station, and on the other side of the lawn Wine Club members were treated to their own tastings in a large outbuilding. There was also an artisan cupcake vendor tempting attendees with all manner of delicious baked goods, as well as a toffee vendor offering up succulent sweets.

The tasting room was filled with exuberant wine tasters which was gratifying to see, but it made getting to the bar to get a pour something of a challenge. We certainly don’t begrudge a winery for drawing a crowd, but if you attend an event like the Lodi Wine and Chocolate Weekend you should be prepared to be a little assertive to get a taste. Being shy will not cut it. [Fortunately for Mike and Kevin, no one will ever apply the adjective “shy” to Nikki or Carissa. They fought their way up to the bar against ridiculous odds and overwhelming numbers and held down a section like King Henry V’s troops at Agincourt. Only with fewer archers, less blood, and no awesome St. Crispin’s Day speech.]

The Wines

2009 Barbera “Infamous”: A medium-bodied wine full of fruit with a pleasant hint of tobacco to add some mystery and keep it from tasting jammy. Nikki adds: This savory wine had a flavor like marinade running off grilled meat. Says the vegetarian. And also, Amador County makes appellation number 3 for this trip! Wooooo!

2009 Zinfandel “Mischievous”: Another medium-bodied wine that opens with an evolving surge of fruit which expands until the tannins take over for the finish. Nikki: I tasted a candy-cherry beginning, with a bitter finish. Which makes this wine like all my relationships before Mike!

2009 Petite Sirah “Rebellious”: Is this a theme emerging? This wine also opens with a statement of fruit that then segues into a soft tannic finish.

2009 Zinfandel “Flirtatious”: This Zin was the jammiest, with a bit of ashiness to signal the close.

Barrel tastings:

2010 Sangiovese “Amorous”: Although this was obviously a young wine (it was after all a barrel tasting) it gave a good indication of where it would head in maturity. The tannins were present but not assertive, and it had a substantial fruit flavor that developed on the tongue over time. There was a slight almost effervescent quality that was really the only element that betrayed its youth. Of the wines I tasted at Macchia, this one had the most complexity. I’d be interested to try this in a couple of years. Nikki says: My notes say, “Almost a bloody-rich taste.” Mike either has a more sensitive palate than I, or a larger library of adjectives.

2010 Zinfandel “Prestigious”: We were told this came from the oldest Zinfandel vine in Lodi. Compared to the Sangiovese this was quite a bit more obviously a young wine. There was a fairly strong presence of grape skin flavor at the end which I expect would moderate as the wine ages. It seemed pretty consistent with the other Zins we sampled at Macchia and will undoubtedly make a fine addition to their offerings once it’s ready.

Macchia Winery clearly got into the spirit of the weekend and offered a fun, energetic setting to mingle and enjoy tasting. Our consensus was that Macchia wines would be lovely to share with friends and have with food, but overall the flavors didn’t seem to have the layers or complexity we look for in a special-occasion keeper.