Wine country visitors in California often begin in San Francisco and then head north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa and Sonoma, or south to Monterey and beyond. Much of the wine we enjoy every day, however, comes from a lesser-known but increasingly important region-Lodi.
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Lot 205 Winery’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
The city of Lodi (“LOW die”) is in the northern part of California’s large Central Valley, a region known as much for vegetables as for its large amounts of modest wine. Lodi, however, has for some time been distinguishing itself with old-vine zinfandel and other varieties, many Spanish or at least Mediterranean. Along the way, the cabernet and merlot there have improved in quality.
This area is 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada. As temperatures rise in the Central Valley, cool bay breezes are pulled across the Lodi region through a gap between the northern and southern coastal ranges that meet at the San Francisco Bay.
Because of this, Lodi is cooler in the west, warming toward the eastern end, in the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Lodi has been a major grape growing region since the 1850s. Today, the area has 100,000 acres of winegrapes, farmed by more than 750 growers. Twenty percent of California’s total winegrape production — more than Napa and Sonoma Counties combined — come from Lodi. Many major national wine brands routinely include Lodi grapes in their wines.
But Lodi also has old-vine zinfandel, recognizable by the stand-alone, head-pruned vineyards. Few regions have this combination of quantity and quality, a situation that usually means good wines at great prices.
So the next time you’re enjoying a glass of California wine, and the label doesn’t say exactly which part of California it’s from, there’s a very good chance that you’re drinking wine from Lodi Wine Country.
Eighty-two percent of the grapes used for Lot 205 Winery’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon are from the rolling hills and gravely soil of eastern Lodi. Lot 205 retails for about $12.