Lodi’s annual wine festival on the lake, ZinFest, just concluded on May 20. This year winery booths were situated further around the lake from West Turner Road, towards the north side. A bit more immersed in nature there, further from the thoroughfare. Attendees benefited from a pleasant, brief walk around the tree-studded shoreline, and seeing an occasional flock of ducks floating on the water. Two shuttle types were available for guests so inclined.
The forecast this day was for quite warm weather. Standing under one the tents covering the wine booths, I thought “This is nowhere near the forecast”. I asked the young lady who had just given me a pour if she had the temperature reading. I told her I thought it was 69 degrees-F. She exposed an electronic based temperature device and replied, “It’s 68 degrees”. “Amazing!” I said. “The moderation is certainly due to the gentle air flow off the lake, the shade trees, and the tents.” What a pleasant spot for an outdoor wine event.
Even though Zinfest was quite well attended, I had no waits in ques, for shuttles, entering the venue, or coming and going. I saw many happy faces and people were obviously enjoying themselves. Food was available, and judging from what I had, Memphis 15-Spice Dry-Rub Pork Ribs with Mustard Slaw, it was very good.
In addition to the wine tasting, several opportunities were on offer during the afternoon. The Zinfest Wine School conducted seminars for guests led by local vintners and experts who shared their knowledge of Lodi viticulture and wine. Cooking school was open to all attendees and offered demonstrations with wine pairings by four different chefs rotating on the hour. Guests also had the opportunity to garner some Bar-B-Q expertise at several demonstrations taking place throughout the afternoon at the Zinfest BBQ Experience. Adding music to the afternoon was a piano player, a duo with ukuleles, a strolling acoustic trio, and a 15-member soul ensemble.
I was extremely pleased with the wines that I evaluated (notes follow). The quality level continues to rise in Lodi, as well as the number of wines produced from grapes native to Spain and Portugal. I rated some wines at the “exceptional” level. I’ve said this before, “Just taste the wines from Lodi. You will be glad you did!”
My Tasting Notes
89, Barbera, Macchia, “Delicious”, 2015
Deep ruby-purple in color. Loads of dark fruit, black-plum, blackberry, and a note of violet. A mid-weight intense with rich, ripe, sweet fruit. Plentiful acidity, very soft tannins, and hedonistic in character.
90, Cabernet Sauvignon, The Dancing Fox Winery and Brewery, 2012
Dark ruby-purple in color. A nicely balanced and structured Cabernet that reveals quality fruit, which the winegrower sold to Napa Valley wineries for some time. Mid-weight, well managed tannins, requisite acidity and extract. A fine effort.
91, Petit Verdot, Drava, 2014
Expressive, understated, and elegance personified! Medium-light opaque-purple in color. The ripe red and blue fruits have a gentle touch and feel. Fine balance and harmony are intrinsic, while the tannins are mild and silky. Very quaffable, genteel, and a unique expression of Petit Verdot!
90, Tempranillo, Bokisch, 2014
Opaque Crimson-lilac in color. A generous assembly of red and yellow plums, strawberries, and tobacco with herbal accents. A mid-weight with rich fruit delivering intense flavor. The tannins are well managed.
92, Tempranillo, Fields Family Wines, 2014
Medium-light purple with ruby hues. A sugar-plum and strawberry nose, with wild raspberries and strawberries on the palate, this is an agile Tempranillo that is razor sharp in focus. Highly expressive with quality fruit, the tannins are mild and ripe. Bright, balanced, and elegant, this is a gorgeous Tempranillo!
90, Zinfandel, Bokisch, Old Vine, 2013
Flavorful and expressive is this magenta colored, light-weight Zin. Not so light-weight in its character with aromas of red plum, tobacco, and red berries, while boasting extravagant flavors of bakery pie and red bramble-berries. Smoothly textured with the requisite acidity, mild tannins, and a touch of elegance.
90, Zinfandel, Dancing Coyote Wines, 2012
Transparent light-ruby in color. A delicious Zinfandel yielding aromas of brown sugar and red fruit, with intense red bramble-berries in the mouth. Light-weight, but copious quantities of ripe fruit with mild tannins on the prolonged finish.
90, Zinfandel, Fields Family Wines, Old Vine, 2013
This light-weight Zin displays in transparent-red with hues of bubblegum. Aromas of wild raspberry, black cherry, and cardamom. Lightly textured, sufficient acidity, nicely balanced components, and an animated character.
90, Zinfandel, Jessie’s Grove Winery, Westwind Old Vine, 2013
This mid-light-weight Zin is light-ruby in color. Brown sugar, spice, and red-fruit aromas, with strawberry and red plum in the mouth, this wine displays a silky texture. Lithe in character, ripe quality fruit, and a lingering finish.
89, Zinfandel, The Dancing Fox Winery & Brewery, Old Vine, 2012
Red-purple in color. Rich red-berry fruit, good balance, and a smooth texture. Nicely delineated with a harmonious character.
91, Albariño, Bokisch, 2015
Light-rye in color. Aromatic and expressive with aromas of lime, mandarin, and citrus blossom. Intense lemon-cola on the palate in a mineral frame. A mid-weight with quality fruit that is that is refreshing and smoothly textured.
90, Sauvignon Blanc, The Dancing Fox Winery & Brewery, 2016
Rich tropical fruit in the aroma and taste, moderated by bright acidity which provides freshness and focus that define Sauvignon Blanc so well. This white-gold colored, medium-heavy weight white demonstrates superb balance of all components.
90, Vermentino, Fields Family Wines, 2016
Straw in color. Aromas of dry grass, gooseberry, and fennel. Very juicy and grapy in the mouth, with delicious flavors of melon, apricot, and sliced peach. This medium-weight white, thought to be Spanish, but DNA identical to Pigato of Liguria from Pimonte, Italy, is quite smoothly textured and finishes long.
90, Viognier, Acquiesce, 2016
Light straw in color. Elevated aromas of melon, apricot, and fennel punctuate the opening of this white, with honey, stone fruit, and anise following in the mouth. The fruit shows good purity, and the constituents are in fine balance in this elegant effort.