Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lodi, Old-Vine Zinfandel, and Oak Ridge Winery Old Zin Vines

The Lodi AVA is located in California's Central Valley - east of San Francisco Bay and west of the Sierra Nevada foothills.  It's Mediterranean climate of hot days and cool nights (maritime breezes) creates a conducive environment for wine grapes - particularly Lodi's signature grape: Zinfandel. And usually old-vine zinfandel. Old vine? Some of these vines are 120 years old, gnarly, with very small yields.  The Historic Vineyard Society, documents older vineyards in the interest of preservation and defines old vines or historic vines as:
        • Currently productive vines
        • Vines planted no later than 1960
        • At least one third of vines traceable to the original planting date

One Lodi winery producing old-vine zinfandel is also the region's oldest continually operating producer, Oak Ridge Winery. The was founded in 1934 as a winemaking cooperative of local grape growers. In 2001, Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Rocky Reynolds purchased the winery and retained many aspects of the historical property - for instance the building for Lodi's first tasting room.  Today the produces several brands including its signature Old Zin Vines (“OZV”).  The wine is made from grapes harvested from 50-100 year old zinfandel vines spread throughout the winery's various estate vineyards. Juice from certain lots are aged in various toast levels, whereas some are aged in stainless steel.  The lots are then blended together that is intended to be bright and fruity while retaining richness and depth.

Last week I received a sample of the “OZV” which comes in at 13.95% ABV and retails in the low teen. Like that price point. The wine starts with red fruit and tobacco on the nose, followed by chewy candied raspberry flavor, and finishing rather nicely (decent acids).  This is a rather nice everyday wine, both in the palette and financially. And according to the winery's locator - available in most states. Cheers to that.
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