Storing and Serving Lodi Zinfandels
John Fogerty with Creedence Clearwater Revival racked up about 15 top 20 hits over the years.
If you are American and have a pulse, then you are a John Fogerty fan.
I didn’t know where Lodi was but I sure didn’t want to get stuck there.
The song “Lodi” describes the plight of a down-and-out musician whose career has landed him playing a gig in the town of Lodi (pronounced “low-die”), a small agricultural town in California’s Central Valley. The singer finds himself stranded, unable to raise bus fare to leave and laments that he is stuck there.
Things got bad, and things got worse,
I guess you will know the tune.
Oh ! Lord, Stuck in Lodi again.
An entire generation pictured Lodi as a desolate outpost.
Thinking it was some place in Texas that sounded bleak and dry and closed minded.
John Fogerty definitely did not try the Zinfandel in Lodi, California.
Because if he had, he might surely have written a more fitting love song… and might even have stuck around for a while.
In addition to it’s rock history, Lodi is also known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.”
Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Lodi 2015 “Wine Region of the Year” and with good reason.
Lodi is a place of lush old growth wine vines, some as old as 125 years and as a vine ages – it hits it’s stride ( a lot like Fogerty). The berries are smaller and the wine is more intense and the roots are longer and eat up more of the terroir.
The Lodi region has been home to grape growing since the 1850s when wild grapes would grow down from trees along the edge of the Calaveras River.
The early settlers called the river, “Wine Creek”.
Due to the city’s proximity to the San Joaquin Delta, summer temperatures usually dip into the fifties at night.
The region has diurnal temperature swings to develop the flavor during the hot days and balance the acid with cool nights. Fog drifts in from the San Francisco Bay during the summer and it can be breezy at night to cool the grapes.
Lodi has a climate similar to the Mediterranean, with warm days and cool nights.
The region is hot and the grapes are concentrated and rich.
This concentrate adds sugar which gives the wine a full bodied, thick and luscious flavor.
The soil is similar to the French region of Chateauneuf du Pape with deep loam that is covered with large rocks.
According to Christopher Garrison, wine expert and owner of the Jazz Club Red White and Bluezz in Pasadena, says, “If you’re paying up to $70 for the newest Zinfandel or Cab from Napa then you are wasting money because Lodi and the Central Coast are turning out wines of equal quality for half the price.”
Garrison knows his reds as he was GM for Morton’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills for a decade before opening his Jazz Club next to the Pasadena Playhouse.
Garrison preaches the Lodi Zins are, “hidden gems that have a lot of fruit, leather and smokiness.”
What’s your favorite?
“The Predator Zin is our biggest seller, wine drinkers really appreciate all the flavors of this wine.”
What temperature should the Zin be served?
According to Christopher, “To each his own. Drink and serve the wine the way you like it.”
Red White and Bluezz hosts impressive red wine coolers that are kept at 55 degrees to preserve the quality when storing.
Wednesdays are 50% off all wines so it’s a great place to come and try new varietals.
Predator Old Vine Zinfandel
The lady bug is a natural predator that feeds on insects harmful to wine grapes and are also used for sustainable vineyard practices that get rid of synthetic pesticides.
The Lodi appellation in California’s Central Valley, is known for its legendary “Old Vine” Zinfandels.
Predator Zinfandel is sourced from 50+year old vines that produce rich and intensely flavored fruit.
The resulting wine is big and bold with hallmark “old vine” velvety texture, spice and vibrant varietal flavors.
Lodi benefits from a diurnal swing of hot days and cool evening breezes and as a result this Zin has an intense, distinctive flavor with a delicious Rutherford dusting of cocoa on the finish.
Chilling red Zins in a Dual Zone Thermoelectric Wine Cooler.
Wine drinkers tend to chill white Zin, but what about red?
Many people are confused as to the proper temperatures for specific wines.
Red Zinfandel, or just Zinfandel, has been an important part of California winemaking since the 1800s.
Zins will typically run from medium-bodied to full-bodied.
Medium-bodied wines berry fruit flavors and spice
Full-bodied wines can have much more intensity and alcohol.
The White Zins (blush wines) are perfect for chilling as they are lighter and sweeter.
But the Red Zinfandel is typically is not chilled, especially if it has been aged.
The medium-bodied Zins could be put in the fridge or an ice bucket for half-an-hour before serving.
Lighter and sparkling wines should be served fairly cold – about 40-50 degrees.
Medium and fuller bodied wines can be served at slightly higher temps – say 50-60 degrees.
Lighter and some medium-bodies reds will work well in the 50-60 degree zones.
Fuller reds should be in the 58-68 degrees.
Colder temps will decrease the fruit aromas and intensify the tannins and wood flavors, while warmer temps will bring out more fruit flavors but also more alcohol.
It’s not an exact science and a bit of a balancing act.
Getting the Right Temperature
A dual zone wine cooler like the AW-211ED lets you store wine at the idea 55 degrees in one compartment, and keep whites chilled and ready to serve in the other.
Assuming you are storing your wine at 55°F, what’s the best way to get it to the right temperature for serving?
Dual-zone wine coolers offer the greatest flexibility for both storage and serving.
Set one compartment to 55°F for long-term storage for both white and red wines, and for full-bodied reds you plan to drink soon.
Set the second compartment to 45° for white or desert wines you plan to drink soon, or even colder for sparkling wines like Champagne.
If you don’t have a dual-zone cooler, or you need to fine tune serving temperatures before serving, here are some quick ways to quickly cool down your wine.
Refrigerate it – toss a bottle into the fridge or freezer for a short period. An hour for white or sparkling wines, and 10-20 minutes for red wine will usually do the job.
Just don’t forget about it in the freezer or you could have a mess on your hands!
Ice it – immerse the bottle in a bucket of ice and cold water.
You can even add salt to the mixture to intensify the cooling effect.
DON’T add ice directly to the wine – you’ll just end up with watered-down wine.
Do use chilling rocks or whiskey stones.
TIP: It is better to start out with your wine too cold instead of too warm, since the moment you pour it in the glass it will start warming up.
Quick Guide: The Best Temperature for Serving Wine
|Typical room temperature||72°||22°|
|Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Burgundy||63°||17°|
|Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rioja||61°||16°|
|Tawny/NV Port, Madeira||57°||14°|
|Ideal storage temp, red and white||55°||13°|
|Viognier, Sauternes, Chablis||52°||11°|
|Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc||48°||9°|
|Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc||47°||8°|
|Standard refrigerator temp||35°||2°|