Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

Award winning Summer wines

Congratulations to Bokisch Vineyards for your award winning Summer wines!

Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi’s 2016 Terra Alta Vineyards Albariño won Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition’s 2017 Gold and Best of Class medals for the for the second year in a row!

Bokisch Vineyard’s wines garner many awards and accolades, such as 2017 San Francisco Chronicle wine awards for: Best of Class 2015 Terra Alta Albariño & 2014 Tempranillo Gold 2014 Garnacha Silver 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel

If you follow Sip California’s Instagram account, you will see we post lots of photos of Bokisch’s beautiful Terra Alta vineyard, where the tasting room and picnic areas are located, the wines, and picnics. We love this Lodi gem, their delicious Spanish wines, and great atmosphere!

Summer wines and inspiration for foodies

A self professed foodie, I am inspired, and delighted by the food friendly focus of this winery. Liz Bokisch creates recipes for pairing with Bokisch wines, which can be found on the winery website, and on recipe cards in the winery tasting room.

Bokisch Vineyards’ events are centered around food and wine pairings, from chef prepared meals in their home kitchen, to vineyard pairings with Spanish “nibbles”.

Unique Wine Tasting Experiences

Bokisch often offers interesting tasting experiences. We have enjoyed a vertical tasting of Bokisch’s Albariños, and a smackdown between Bokisch’s Verdelho and Verdejo. These fun, and educational tastings include an information sheet about each wine, pairing and recipe ideas for each, and invite discussion among participants.


Bring a picnic!

We often bring friends to taste and picnic at Bokisch Vineyards. Most recently, the Sip California Wine Divas. Bokisch has been a resounding hit with everyone!


Ladies who wish to join the Wine Divas follow us on the Diva’s Facebook page, Sip California’s Facebook, and Instagram.

For Liz Bokisch’s recipes, pairings, party inspiration and more, click here.

Sip California’s Lodi Wine Experience Cards provide special membership offers. Currently, Bokisch Vineyards is offering complimentary wine tasting for two. Visit Bokisch Vineyards Friday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m at 18921 Atkins Rd, Lodi, CA 95240.





Beat the heat with Summer wines at Lange Twins

If you’re in Northern California right now you are trying to figure out ways to beat the heat, as we are in the midst of a heat wave.

On Saturday we chose to visit Lange Twins winery in Lodi to escape the heat.

Lange Twins’ beautiful water fountains greet visitors and begin the tranquil transition from unbearable heat to a beautifully appointed winery tasting room with a gorgeous wood bar, subtle lighting, and nice cool air conditioning. The tasting room looks out on the barrel room, and is inviting any time of year. But today, it was especially welcoming, as were the friendly staff.

Wine tastings

For $10, guests are welcome to choose 5 wines to taste from a tasting list which today included 5 whites and 5 reds.

White wines tasting

We generally prefer red wines, but, wanted to try some whites with Summer in mind. The staff recommended we taste Lange Twins’ debut Chenin Blanc. It was described as juicy citrus and pear, dry, fermented in stainless steel. Chilled to perfection, the Chenin Blanc was delightful, just as described, a perfect hot weather wine.

2016 Winery Exclusive Chenin Blanc

“Our debut bottling of Chenin Blanc is a vibrant expression of the varietal. Coming from the Prince Vineyard in the Clarksburg Appellation, our Chenin Blanc is refreshing and bright with balanced acidity. Fermented to dryness solely in stainless steel, the aromas and flavors of juicy citrus and tart pear shine through with purity. Pair with Southeast Asian cuisine or you favorite cheeses.”

Certified Lodi Rules for Sustainable Wine growing

Vineyard Notes: One of the many varietals within Prince Vineyard is Chenin Blanc: planted in 1995, 1996 and 2012 in nine separate blocks totaling 92.08 acres. The vineyard is in the Clarksburg Appellation, with an ideal location to maintain the natural acidity and floral bouquet.

Production Notes: With above average winter rains, we began the 2016 growing season with enough moisture in the soil profile to delay the start of irrigation. This allowed the vines to grow at their own pace until the crucial time when we began spoon feeding water to control vigor. Warm daytime temperatures and cool nights resulted in all varietals ripening quickly in the first half of the season, but as we came closer to fall, the late ripening varietals took their time reaching maturity. What developed was a long harvest, beginning at the end of July and lasting until the end of October, just before the first major fall rainstorm; lucky for us 99% of our vineyards were harvested. The outcome is a season with average to above-average yields and winemakers please with the quality.

Food Pairing Notes Cheese: Gruyere / Meat: Pork, Salmon / Sauce: Curry / Dessert: Berry Tart

We also tasted the 2016 Chardonnay (86 pts. Wine Enthusiast), and 2016 Gewurztraminer (90 pts. Wine Enthusiast), both delicious.

Red wines tasting

We began our reds tasting with Lange Twins’ winery exclusive 2014 Nero D’Avola, which won Gold “Best of Class” at the California State Fair, and 88 pts. Wine Enthusiast. I fell in love with this wine! In my humble opinion, at $20/bottle this wine is a BUY!

2014 Winery Exclusive Nero d’Avola

“Staying true to our philosophy of hands-off winemaking, when the Nero d’Avola completed fermentation we simply moved the entire vintage into both neutral French and neutral American oak barrels. This allows the fruit to shine, but adds a touch of oak notes. After 18 months of barrel aging our inaugural vintage was complete. Opening with earthy and rustic aromas, a hint of dark fruit is also present. On the palate the dark fruit comes across as black cherry which carries through to the finish. A nice balance of tannin structure and fruit flavors make this an ideal wine for a variety of food pairings.”

Certified Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing

Vineyard Notes: In 2012 the Red Tail Vineyard was planted adjacent to our winery in the heart of the Lodi Appellation. The 3.62 acre block has open vines with small canopies allowing filtered sunlight to uniformly ripen clusters. This creates a perfect situation to develop concentrated flavors and colors that red wines are known for in our region.

Winemaker: Notes Nero d’Avola is an Italian varietal with roots in Sicily and recently became one of the most widely planted varietals on the island. Historically it was used to add color to light red wines, but more recently has made a name for itself as a stand alone wine. It was our experience with growing other Italian varietals in the Lodi Appellation that led to our decision to experiment with Nero d’Avola. The 2014 bottling represents the first vintage from the young vineyard that neighbors our winery.

Food Pairing Notes: Cheese: Aged Parmesan / Meat: Tuna / Sauce: Tomato / Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake

We were told this red can be served chilled.

Why this red wine can handle chilling according to Lange Twins’ winemakers:

1) The wonderful fruity aromatics are not suppressed by the colder temperature

2) The tannins in the Nero are less harsh, so when the wine is chilled, it does not make the wine rougher.

3) The nice body and balance in the finished wine is not obscured or thinned out when cold.   

“Basically, it keeps its charming nature even when chilled and sometimes, we think it is a good thing to throw out the rule book on wine enjoyment. You know, be a ‘rules breaker and going out of bounds’…”

We chilled the Nero D’Avola and served with our Father’s Day Barbeque. We agree, a delicious wine room temperature or chilled!

We also tasted the Lange Twins 2014 Petite Sirah, which was wonderful.

Barrel tasting and blending

We then decided to join the group that was forming to participate in the barrel tasting experience. We received two glasses, each with a pour of  Lange Twins 2015 Merlot, one in American Oak, and one in French Oak. We tasted each, saving a portion of each. Lovely, each a bit different, ready to drink now, in my opinion. Then, we were instructed to pour one into the other glass, swirl, and taste. The winemakers will be combining the two for the finished product. It was a great experience, unlike any barrel tasting we had experienced before. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and look forward to the next opportunity to barrel taste. Lange Twins’ next barrel tasting experience will be on July 7.

After hours Friday evenings at Lange Twins

Sip California Lodi Wine Experience Card Owners’ offer at Lange Twins Vineyards and Winery is currently two tastings for the price of one. Plus, they are offering our members the wine club discount of 20% off their Redwood Bar After Hours for Friday nights in June and July.

Date: Fri, Jun 2, 2017 – Fri, Jul 28, 2017 Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM Venue: The Press Room – Lange Twins Winery

Kick off your Friday night in the Lange Twins Press Room! The tasting room will transform into a relaxing lounge with personal seating where you can enjoy a glass of wine and an individual charcuterie board. RSVPs are required – limited to 28 seats. Tickets are $30. Wine Club Members and Sip California Lodi Card holders receive 20% off. Payment is required at the time of reservation. Call today to reserve your seat! 209.334.9780 ext.1

June 23. Taste Library Reserve Wines

June 30.  Live Music on the Patio

July 7.     Taste Tank and Barrel Samples

July 14.   Caricature Wine Night

July 21.   Meet the Winery Owners

July 28.  Live Music on the Patio

Check Lange Twins’ website for more cool Summer events, such as their Wine Ice Cream Social on Sunday June 25th 12:00-5:00.

Stay cool and enjoy the fabulous wine at Lange Twins!

Tasting Hours Thursday – Monday 12pm – 5pm Last tasting offered at 4:45pm

1525 East Jahant Road Acampo, California 95220



The 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge Celebration of Gold Medal winning wines on Sunday May 15th was a great hit! It was a lovely day to taste amazing wines and chef prepared foods among the redwoods at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center in Rohnert Park.

We would like to congratulate all the winning wineries on their award winning wines!

The North Coast Wine Challenge competition rates wines exclusively produced and bottled in the North Coast AVA’s including Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Marin, and parts of Solano County. Eligibility includes any bottled wine labeled with these AVA’s as their main source of grapes and whose winery is in California.

Sip California wineries took home a lot of gold medals, and it was a wonderful celebration.elb

Congratulations go to Sip California wineries, for these award winning wines!

Napa – Visit these Napa North Coast Challenge award winning wineries, with your Sip California Napa Wine Experience Card

Cairdean Vineyards   Suisun Valley     Best of Solano County     Riesling 90 points- A wonderful California Riesling that the consumer will love to indulge in.               Riesling 2014

Cairdean Vineyards    Napa Valley        Gold          Cabernet Sauvignon > $40.00     94 points- Irresistible sex kitten.                Cabernet Sauvignon       2012

Cairdean Vineyards      Suisun Valley     Gold       Riesling dry 0.0 – 0.9% rs                90 points- A wonderful California Riesling that the consumer will love to indulge in.              Riesling 2014

Rutherford Ranch Winery     Napa Valley        Gold        Sauvignon Blanc < $20.00           92 points- elegant, sophisticated, bright lovely notes. Carnival in glass. Fun and upbeat.     Sauvignon Blanc       2015

Silenus Vintners        Napa Valley        Gold           Cabernet Sauvignon > $75.00     91 points- an age worthy wine   Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon       2013








Sonoma – Visit these Sonoma North Coast Challenge award winning wineries, with your Sip California Sonoma Wine Experience Card

Balletto Vineyards & Winery  Russian River Valley      Gold         Pinot Noir > $40.00        92 points- wonderful bright mid palate. A giver – very generous wine.   Burnside Road Vineyard Pinot Noir    2014

Balletto Vineyards & Winery   Russian River Valley Gold        Pinot Noir > $40.00        92 points- this is the perfect acidic strawberry wine! bright, fresh & tangy  Cider Ridge Vineyard  Pinot Noir  2014

Balletto Vineyards & Winery    Russian River Valley        Gold         Pinot Gris/ Grigio           95 points- Straight up Awesome. Beautiful medley, beautiful medley, white peach, wet seashell, oysters please  Pinot Gris            2014

Balletto Vineyards & Winery   Russian River Valley        Gold          Pinot Noir > $20.00     91 points- elegant wine Pinot Noir                2014

Balletto Vineyards & Winery   Russian River Valley        Gold          Pinot Noir > $40.00      92 points- dark red fruit & fabulous length , nice finish, soft, perky   Sexton Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir  2014

Balletto Vineyards & Winery   Sonoma Coast   Gold       Russian River Valley        Gold         Pinot Noir > $40.00      96 points- nice dark rich finish. rich & Delicious/ sweet n’ spice; velvety Winery Block Pinot Noir                2014

Benziger Family Winery   Sonoma Coast   Gold            Pinot Noir > $75.00          94 points- smoked vanilla, inviting nose, pleasing balance between red and blue fruits, classic benchmark de Coelo Terra Neuma Pinot Noir             2013

Benziger Family Winery   Sonoma County           Gold      Merlot < $20.00                90 points- pleasant & varietal     Merlot  2013

Benziger Family Winery   Sonoma Valley  Gold        Red Bordeaux Type Blends > $40.00    95 points- The complete package!                Estate Biodynamic Tribute           2013

Imagery Estate Winery Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak  Gold     Italian Type Red Blends 97 points- Plush. pretty, perfect, pleasant treat. Bring on the Italian chef. A present for your palate.         Tusca Brava        2013

Imagery Estate Winery Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak  Gold      Other Red Varietals        92 points- Black cherry skin, black pepper, cured meat, sour cherry, tamarind.             Upper Ridge Teroldego 2013

Imagery Estate Winery  Sonoma Valley  Gold      Other Red Blends            92 points- classic Bordeaux blend             Pallas Estate Red        2013

Imagery Estate Winery  Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Gold      Other White Blends        93 points- Lemon candies, tart cherry character, intriguing, jasmine, fresh and lively, farm fresh.  Wow Oui   2015

Imagery Estate Winery  Sonoma Valley  Gold      Other White Varietals    91 points- wild spice with touch of dry ginger Chinese 5-spice                Albarino               2015

Pech Merle Winery   Dry Creek Valley               Gold          Zinfandel >$20.01            93 points- plum, ripe, creamy – opulent, super, classic, old school zin        Treborce Vineyard Zinfandel,     2013

Pech Merle Winery    Russian River Valley        Gold  Pinot Noir > $40.00          91 points- bright fruit – fruit forward, soft                Oehlman Vineyard Pinot Noir     2013

Pech Merle Winery      Dry Creek Valley               Gold         Viognier               91 points- one peachy stone fruit wine  Viognier                2015




Portalupi Wine Co.     Alexander Valley              Gold          Petite Sirah         93 points- Classic California style-grown petite.                Petite Sirah         2014



Lodi’s scores of tasting rooms easy to access

by Allen Matthews Friday, September 7, 2012

A generation ago, Lodi was evolving from its table-grape heritage into its wine-grape future. A handful of tasting rooms have transformed into an appellation with some 80 – and growing – spots to sample wines in the former Tokay capital. These include several pioneer Lodi families that have embraced the wine movement.

Downtown Lodi offers many tasting rooms, making it easy to sample, stroll and snack.

You can also buy a Sip California card … that provides tastings for two at nearly 20 outlets. Cards are available at wineries or at *Please Note: this article was published in 2012, offers may have changed.

Here is a look at a few places to try wines in Lodi:

Abundance Vineyards: Brothers Dino and Ron Mencarini began transforming family cornfields into vineyards in the 1960s. While some of the grapes come from other areas, most are from Lodi. The Tuscan-influenced building looks as if it had been part of the land for decades even though it is just 3 years old. Try three whites and six reds for $5; three sparkling pours for $3 or three reserve selections for $3. Sip California. Fees waived with the purchase of three bottles. 1150 W. Turner Road, Lodi; (209) 334-0274. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sun. and by appointment.

 Estate Crush: This downtown tasting room showcases the wines it makes for grape growers who want their own wine, turning as little as a ton of grapes into one’s own label. Tours of the wine-making operation, which will have 85 labels by the end of the season, are available, but you can also sneak a peek on the side of the building. Taste three wines for $3. Fee waived with wine purchase. Sip California. 2 W. Lockeford St., Lodi; (209) 368-7595. Noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sun. or by appointment.

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi: The Robert Mondavi name is so tied with the Napa Valley that most people don’t know that he grew up here (St. Anne’s; Lodi High). Woodbridge is the big kahuna of Lodi. It’s not quite on par with its cousins to the west or with some of the local boutique wineries, but it has volume and a name that reverberates. Woodbridge has a picnic area, and free tours are offered at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sip California tasting levels are complimentary, $5 and $10, with four pours each. 5950 W. Woodbridge Road, Acampo; (209) 365-8139. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.

Allen Matthews is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.