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A few weeks ago, I engaged in a live wine tasting via social media, showcasing the Lodi Native Project for 2012. A first year project from vintners and winemakers of Lodi, California. Their mission: to focus on the regions historic vine plantings, some dating back to the 1800’s, with minimalist winemaking practices; the use of no new oak and the focus being put on tasting the different vineyards rather than the varietal character of the grape. The grape of choice being none other than Zinfandel. Lodi Native Project 2012

The tasting brought to light such a notable difference in each of the distinguished and distinctly different vineyards.     I love Lodi wines and know these vineyards very well, living so close to the region I get to visit Lodi wineries often. What I never realized was how distinctive each vineyard area was in taste, having very little to do with the vintage. When the six winemakers got together for this project, making all of the wines with the same rules and processes  – the only differences, for the most part, being vineyards; it became quite notable what the terroir of Lodi has to offer. Winemakers were not able to put too many personal touches and spins on the outcome….therefore, it was all about the vineyard. (and a little bit about the Zinfandel!)

The following are the six wines and winemakers that contributed to the 2012 Lodi Native Project and a few of my tasting notes. You are able to buy these wines, via a six bottle cases from each of the wineries themselves or the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center.

Lodi Native Maley Brothers VineyardsWEGAT VINEYARD (Winemaker Chad Joseph from Maley Brothers Vineyards):

This vineyard lends great green, herbal qualities to the Zinfandel. A good amount of acidity with fruity currants, cherries and a bit of spice on the finish. A great Zinfandel for food pairing.


Lodi Native M2 WinesSOUCIE VINEYARD (Winemaker Layne Montgomery from m2 Wines):

A very earthy Zinfandel. A taste of the soil itself with dark berry fruit notes. A bit of smokiness with a wonderful acidic balance. Great complexity on this one.


Lodi Native McCay CellarsTRULUX VINEYARD (Winemaker Michael McCay from McCay Cellars):

Lighter in color than other Zinfandels with amber highlights. This wine was very smooth and drinkable. A bit less acid than the others with a fruit forwardness of plums and blackberry jam with a tinge of spice. Finishing with a bold earthiness that leaves you wanting for more.

Lodi Native St. Amant WineryMARIAN’S VINEYARD (Winemaker Stuart Spencer from St. Amant Winery):

Spice Girls unite! This terroir screams of spicy, rich acidity. It’s very feminine in taste with black cherry and hints of cocoa on the finish. Solid wine.


Lodi Native Fields Family WinesTHE CENTURY BLOCK VINEYARD (Winemaker Ryan Sherman from Fields Family Wines):

This wine was my favorite from the bunch. It stood out as something different and by that I mean, it really didn’t taste like I was drinking a Zinfandel. Light in color and texture it drank very much like a Pinot Noir. Elegant and silky with a Zinfandel zest. Great acidity, a slight earthiness and awesome complexity. Tasty juice!

Lodi Native Macchia WinesNOMA RANCH VINEYARD (Winemaker Tim Holdener from Macchia Wines):

Very inky purple in color, much darker than all of the rest of the Zinfandels in this project. A sweetness of plums and vanilla with a little less spice than some of the others. This vineyard is something of its own and helps this Zinfandel move fruit forward. A beautiful wine that is balanced and lush.


If you are a wine-o and love trying new ideas or know someone who does; these wines are a must buy. A delicious treat for you or anyone that loves Zinfandel or Lodi!




** Samples for tasting received courtesy of Lodi Wine Commission (LoCa) and Charles Comm Assoc. **