The SOMM Journal

August / September 2016

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Page 38 of 148

38 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 Building LangeTwins Winery For 25 years, many of the best vineyards in Lodi—including the Lange family's vineyards—were locked down in long-term farming contracts with the Mondavi brand. When Mondavi sold in late 2004, the Langes already had laid plans to build a winery. Over 30 years, they had become one of the largest vineyard manage - ment companies in the region, including 1,600 acres of their own vines. LangeTwins approached David Akiyoshi, who had made the Langes' very first Cabernet wine for the Woodbridge contract. For Akiyoshi, all of the factors were lining up. "These were vineyards that I was interested in; they are really the best vineyards in the area," says Akiyoshi, "It was meant to be." Akiyoshi assisted in designing the winery, built in 2006. The state-of-the-art facility produces wines for the various Lange family brands including their flagship, LangeTwins, as well as custom crush clients. Akiyoshi's decades of experience shaped the wine - maker he is today. "The hope is you're making wines that are harmonious; they have symmetry to them; they have varietal distinctiveness," says Akiyoshi, "And the rightful place of wines is the grace of table. Wine makes food taste better; food makes wine taste better. That drives a lot of the style of how you make wine." Putting Lodi on the Map There's no doubt that Lodi is producing world-class wines—consumers have been drinking great Lodi wine for years and didn't know it. The challenge is getting consumers to recognize that Lodi labeled wines come from a serious wine growing region. "We understand that in order to get a worldwide reputation for the wine grapes that are being grown here, we have to make wine from Lodi and we have to put Lodi on the label," says Lange, "It's going to take a generation of farmers to do that." Lodi wines are available at all price points and extremely acces - sible for the quality. "Great wine loving nations need areas like Lodi to produce wines that are affordable. You can enjoy great, varietally distinct wines without breaking the bank," says Akiyoshi. If you have yet to discover Lodi wines, prepare to fall in love with a new favorite. The Wines Akiyoshi's depth of experience with Lodi grapes shows in the wines' beautiful balance of fruit and acidity. All prices are suggested retail. LangeTwins 2014 Estate Sauvignon Blanc Musqué Clone, Lodi ($15) Made from one of Lodi's few remaining plantings of the Musqué clone, the wine is vibrant upon opening with both tropical and herbal aromas, hints of Asian pear, lemon peel and lemongrass. Up front, rounder flavors of baked lemon curd, green pineapple and passion fruit mingle with herbal undertones of tarragon and melon. Refreshing and long on the finish. A steal at $15 a bottle. LangeTwins 2015 Estate Sangiovese Rosé, Lodi ($15) Bursts of pomegranate, fresh cut herbs, wild strawberries and orange peel on the nose. Bright, tart fruit up front and throughout the mid-palate with a juicy, mouthwatering finish. LangeTwins 2015 Estate Chardonnay, Clarksburg ($15) Sur lie– aged for eight months in barrel, partial malolactic, from LangeTwins' estate-farmed vineyard in Clarksburg. Aromas of fresh baked baguettes, brown butter, honey, lavender and orange blossom. The wine has a nice weight on the mouth balanced by crisp acidity and flavors of fresh cut pineapple, nutmeg, baked apple and savory under - tones. A tingly long finish with hints of coriander and cardamom. LangeTwins 2013 Estate Zinfandel, Lodi ($15) Quite elegant for a Zinfandel, juicy but not overly ripe. Spicy- sweet aromas of sarsaparilla root, black cherry, hints of dark chocolate, coconut and black tea. Flavors of Morello cherries, subtle hints of espresso, sweet blonde tobacco with long mocha tannins. LangeTwins 2011 Centennial Zinfandel, Lodi ($60) The 105-year-old vineyard owned by the Lewis family (long-time friends of the Lange family) is a beautiful representation of Lodi Zinfandel that has the ripe - ness expected in a Zin but with excellent structure. Subtle aromas of molasses, ripe black cherry, baked oatmeal cookies, hints of new leather and white pep - per. Up-front flavors of cherries, dates, Ethiopian cof- fee beans and olallieberries. Tingly notes of chewing tobacco on the finish. Although riper on the nose, the fruit is elegant on the palate with great structure. 50% new American oak makes for a very American wine. LangeTwins 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, River Ranch Vineyard, Lodi ($50) Available as a single-barrel wine, via the LangeTwins wine club or winery direct. If one wine could prove Lodi's merits for wines aside from Zinfandel, this is it. The wine has the potential to hold its own against some of the best Cabernets in the world. Alluring cigar box aromas recalls an Old World wine with notes of black pepper, red currant and olive. A long journey on the mouth with an elegant spiciness up front, flavors of wild blackberries, red currant, blond tobacco on the mid-palate and a velvety finish. There's no doubt that Lodi is producing world-class wines—consum- ers have been drinking great Lodi wines for years now and just didn't know it. The issue is getting consumers to recognize Lodi labeled wines as coming from a serious wine growing region.

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