#WBC16 Lodi Live Wine Blogging: Red, Red Wines!

20 Aug

Q: NOW, What do you know about Lodi wine?
A2: It’s NOT all about Zinfandel! (But there is some amazing Zin here!)

Day 2 of #WBC16. Day 1 was so much fun! When we finished Live (White & Rose) Wine Blogging on Thursday, our table concurred: “Let’s sit together again tomorrow!”
Well, when I arrived, not a single soul from Table 11 was back at Table 11. But over a little ways I saw friends waving wildly, holding a seat for me at Table 17! All the gingers in the entire conference sat at ONE table together. (I can say ginger, because I am one. You can’t, unless you are too. Really. Don’t believe me? Ask Tim Minchin- video at the bottom of this post.) Not that everyone else at the table wasn’t absolutely fabulous- they WERE! They ARE! I adore you all! Especially Loie, Anatoli, Jennifer, Jeff, Kirsten, and Bri-  But gingers have a special power… sometimes used for good, sometimes for… evil. Because… well… GINGERS!

So… here’s my side of the table: IMG_0037

That’s me (left), with Michelle (Rockin’ Red Blog), Cathrine (DameWine) and Lori (Dracaena Wines).

With this much red & ginger power, what chance do those ten red wines have?

Here we go, my RED wine speed tasting notes!



The Federalist Lodi Zin 2014 Lovely blend, (a hint of Syrah) nice cinnamon spice, tannins and body. Very well priced at $17.76 street!




Windburn’s 2013 Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills Ken Brown, winemaker. Red and Blackberry with nice mineralogy, smooth memories of Burgundy! 

IMG_0040Corner 103’s 2013 Zinfandel: A beautifully feminine Zin, great fruit, manageable acid, tannin & spice. Nice!  




Brie Vineyards’ 2012 Old Vine Zin Terrific spice and fruit with chewy mid-palate & great, smooth, sensuous finish. 



2012 Henry’s Blend, a Bordeaux-styled blend, aged in neutral oak. A serious wine that gives France something to worry about!



Peirano Winery’s 2013 Old Vine Zin “The Immortal Zin” Red currants & cherry. Supple without the huge spice some Zins offer. Delicate and pretty, long lasting. Tertiary notes of clay, sand, a smidge of oak,  and… eerily vampiric. Yeah, I went there. Will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses? You know you want to!  




2013  Farrah Syrah- Floral nose. Deep purple w/supple fruit. Spicy anise, some forest floor & lovely mouthfeel. Oh, nice minerality on the long finish-$20



Abundance Wine’s 2013 Lodi Carignane. A great example of dichotomy:  Strawberry fruit that presents in a soft and feminine but rich, savory mouthfeel. Damn. Tasting both the cut and the rose, like the goddess Athena just kicked your ass but you loved it!  



2014 OVZ Zin Big, perfumed, jammy fruit. This wine is #1 in CA Zin sales  at the low price of $11/bottle. Rich, bright, just right! Get some- 

and last, but not least:


Harney Lane’s 2013 Lizzy James Old Vine Zin Dark cherries, lush flavor w/ rich, supple beauty. Magnificent!

Check out the historic, gnarled trunks and vines that demand hand harvesting, the killer fruit, the loamy sand terroir.





Ok. I’m not done talking about Harney Lane’s Lizzy James Vineyard Zinfandel. I know Twitter capped my tweet, but that won’t stop me here. This wine is so good, it’s frightening. But I’m not really a fan of Zin. Here’s the deal: I won’t drink a decent zinfandel -there are so many great other choices than any ‘meh’ wine- But I love to drink a terrific zinfandel, and this one is mesmerizing. I’ve had amazing wines from Lodi before- Michael David’s Earthquake comes to mind first, but this wine rocked my world again and again, and I kept going back to it at the end of each day to ask “Was (Lizzie James) really among the best wines I tasted all day?” And the answer was always Yes. This wine is beyond special. Lizzy James is EPIC. Don’t know the flavor of Bramble? Wanted a wine that reminds you of fruit cobbler on the finish? Want something to have your entire dinner table ask you WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUS WINE? Seriously: pick this up, savor it for three days, and you can email me a thank you later. <Mic Drop>

Now, about these tasting notes…you might think I moved these wines around in order, but the order I shared them is actually the order they were presented to our table. While the Lizzy James Zinfandel was the last in our red wine speed tasting, I actually tasted this wine on four separate days at WBC16. It was one of several shining stars of the trip, but not the only great wine from this winery, nor the only great zinfandel from Lodi. But most importantly, over the course of the trip, this wine came to represent all of Lodi for me. Because until you spend some time in Lodi with their wines and winemakers, you might write them off as “zin producers”, just like if you don’t really know wine, you might think that Santa Barbara is “just a pinot producer”, or Napa is “just a cabernet” producer. No, no, no! They are SO much more!

Lodi is a unique AVA in the USA, with mediterranean weather and wind patterns, about 60 miles from the Pacific ocean and with sand-rich, desert soil. The winemakers are as unique as the AVAs, and their passion to grow brilliant and tasty fruit results in stunning wines: Spanish grape clones, Rhône grape clones, French grape clones,  German grape clones, Austrian grape clones! You name it, they are growing it in Lodi.

With as many grapes as they are growing, (over 100 varietals) I tasted many, so very many wines that showed intense flavor, terrific winemaking and amazing quality. Because it all starts with tremendous fruit, and intense passion to make the best wine you can make from the finest fruit you can grow.

And they are doing it here, every day, all over Lodi. So get on it, or miss out and feel like a fool.

à votre santé!

Oh, you thought I forgot about calling me ginger, didn’t you? Well I didn’t.

Check out Tim Minchin’s ode to the word ginger in his opus, “Prejudice”. Enjoy!



9 Responses to “#WBC16 Lodi Live Wine Blogging: Red, Red Wines!”

  1. The Wine Culturist August 24, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    Wow, speed blogging/tasting sounds like a real challenge. Not sure I’d be able to switch so fast between such great wines!


    • jimvanbergen August 24, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

      You should come to WBC and try it! It’s not the kind of tasting I prefer, but I love the challenge of taking a quick picture, a good look, sniff, and taste then spewing out a 120-character tweet and image within 5 minutes. The brevity of the tweet makes it have to be short and sweet, so an immediate response, whatever it may be, seems to work best. It’s the only(?) time I use that brief form, I think. For my compilation into a blog post, I check any other notes I took to round out the synopsis. But it’s also VERY fun to do with nine other oenophiles who each have their one perspective, and sometimes you talk openly about the wine, while sometimes you’re typing furiously, trying to block out the din. It’s well worth doing in my opinion. Cheers, and thanks for your follow and comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Wine Culturist August 24, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

        Sounds like great fun, I agree. And you’re right about the immediate response – I always find they’re the most accurate and focused. Hoping to make it to WBC 2017 to give it a go and meet some wonderful fellow oenophiles!


  2. thewineraconteur August 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    Jim, From all that I have read so far, it sounds like it was a great time. By all accounts, I would say that you had the best table.


    • jimvanbergen August 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

      No doubt there, my friend. Our table was stunning. But you could have made it even better. Cheers! Hope you open something smashingly good tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. talkavino August 20, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    We had the best table in the house, hands down. And the wines were very good. Great fun!


  4. thegourmez August 20, 2016 at 4:24 am #

    Great format for presenting the speed blogging! The Federalist impressed me too…if only I had the funds to buy a glass at the Richard Rodgers for Hamilton!


    • jimvanbergen August 22, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

      If you can score the tickets, I bet can figure out a way to get you a glass of The Federalist. 🙂 But if the Federalist was MY wine, I’d make sure that was what Hamilton sells in the Lobby! Just saying’… multi-tiered marketing! Cheers, Rebecca!



  1. Harney Lane 2013 Zinfandel | jvb uncorked - June 18, 2017

    […] There’s a backstory here. When in Lodi last summer for #WBC16, I visited this winery. I tasted their rosé, and I thought “this is really good”. But when I tasted their old vine zinfandel, I was truly blown away by the power of the beautifully made Old Vine Zin, Lizzy James. […]


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