Monday, January 14, 2013

Drinking Spanish in Lodi


Driving through the city of Lodi, it is mostly suburban sprawl and strip malls and straying off the main drag in the downtown area seemed a bit like driving through a meth lab, so some caution is called for, but common sense is all that is needed.

This was a brief visit after lunch, so we only made a couple of stops, but both worth your ime.

The two I visted were both Spanish specialists.

We began at the Cellar Door http://www.lodicellardoor.com, which is a winebar/tasting room that is the official outlet for Bokisch, Van Ruiten, and Michael David. You can buy a glass, a bottle or do a tasting flight. I had actually had a Van Ruiten Old Vine Zin with my lunch, which was $6 a glass at the brew pub we ate lunch at, and was very pleasant in the sort of Ravenswood sort of way. Just friendly, quaffable, a bit jammy zin. So, since I had come to town with Bokisch in mind, I did a tasting flight. They were sold out on the Albarino, but had a very nice Garnacha Blanca, a Rosado, Tempranillo, Monastrell and Graciano. They also have a Garnacha, but it wasn't being poured at that time. I really liked everything except the Rosado, which was a bit on the medium dry side, and you know how I feel about very dry Ros├ęs. I did join the club, since it was a bit of a bargain. I may drop Leal one of these days soon, to maintain my 3 club limit.

Since I was enjoying the Spanish stuff, the host at Cellar Door recommened Riaza http://riazawines.com, along with a few others, that we didn't have time for. Riaza is also all spanish. Great little downtown room. $5 tasting, refunded with a purchase. Lots of little tapas snackies on the bar (olives, almonds, little spanish breadsticks, dipping oil). Owners were working the bar. Young couple who want to do European style wines, lower alcohol, food friendly. Reminded me of Stephy and Brian Terrizzi of Paso's Gironata http://www.giornatawines.com a bit (more on them another time). Funny story, the winemaker/owner introduced himself as  Rick. I said, I'm Rick, and the only other couple in the place, the gent chimes in, I'm Rick too. So we had 3 Ricks. The Mrs is Erin, and they were just super fun and friendly. Wines were quite nice too. They poured 3 Tempranillos, one of which was more of a 'reserva' with more barrel and bottle time. There was a very nice Albarino, a Torrontes and a Graciano. All very good. They buy some of their grapes from Bockisch's Terra Alta Vineyard. Definitely feels like a wine community. Similar to Pleasant Valley in that way.

Just a small sampling, but I figure if you just work off of local recommendations you could do quite well in building a good tasting weekend, and it's a short jump to nearby places like Murphys that have lots of tasting possibilities as well.