Many California ports are made out of late harvest wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah. But a true port is made out of traditional port grapes like Touriga Nacional and Tinto Cao; in keeping with tradition, they are also fortified. St. Amant respects and extends this tradition. They are not just flirting with Portuguese varietals; they specialize. Their ports have that bright velvety texture like ones from Portugal. Their tawny has delicious cocoa and dark smoky fruit that you get from extended aging.
A tasting at St. Amant started with a light crisp refreshing white wine called Verdelho that you’d love if you are looking for a refreshing change from buttery Chardonnay or mineral rich Sauvignon Blanc. Their Souzao is a bright red wine with tight yet plump fruit flavors. Its plum and berry attributes contribute to its purple color. Their Speakeasy blend contains Zinfandel planted in 1901. These older vines produce plush rich body in the wine to suit any meal.
Been to Lodi lately? I guess I should say “have you been through Lodi” because it is so central. Most people only know it as something they pass or stop into for a quick break. But, what most don’t realize is how much wine is produced in their favorite appellations using Lodi grapes. The central valley of this state has the most temperate climate and mineral rich soils that places like Napa may have had once but are now covered by hotels or sidewalks and train tracks.
Lodi is still Lodi. Yet, Lodi is still Lodi. While high end eating and sleeping establishments have not arrived yet, it has remained the same real world mid-state town and has not become the concrete jungle or wine passport party scene like some of its neighbors in this state. A few favorite places to stop:
St Amant – open your mind to delicious Portuguese varietals and a few other local favorites
Macchia – big bold rich red wines favoring Italian varietals that thrive here
M2 – the most popular wines among friends
Michael David – you’ve probably heard of their Seven Deadly Zins, which are pretty good and affordable. But spend a little more and get swept away by Rapture, Lust, and Gluttony. Isn’t it about time you gave in to lust and gluttony!