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  • andychalk


by Andrew Chalk

When well made, Zinfandel can command a place at the same table as the most prestigious grapes. This erstwhile blending grape that powered the Hearty Burgundy that gave me such awful headaches in college has been elevated thanks to the work of winegrowers like Oak Ridge Winery, a five-generation grower-winemaker in the Lodi AVA in California.

These estate-grown grapes average over 30 years of age. That means small yields of concentrated fruit. Quality supplants quantity.

Lodi is an area that has been improving steadily over the last decade. Zinfandel is the most planted grape but others are emerging, introducing more variety.

One advantage of not being the go-to area for grape growing is lower land prices. The consumer wins with the prices below being very reasonable.

Zinfandel generally can be quaffed on its own, but I would pair these two with barbecued brisket or Indian curry dishes.

Oak Ridge Winery, 2017 OZV ‘Old Vine’ Red Blend, Lodi, CA ($12)

Appearance: Opaque purple;

Nose: Stewed blackberries, licorice, molasses. Very interesting components;

Palate: Full bodied ripe, huge fruit, Blackberries. Charred oak. Long fruit-led finish.

Oak Ridge Winery, 2018 OZV ‘Old Vine’ Estate Grown Zinfandel, Lodi, CA ($16)

Appearance: Translucent ruby;

Nose: Huge blackberry fruit leaps out of the glass. There is a softer rose petal note behind it.

Palate: Firm acid, velvet tannins, bubble gum flavors;




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