Lodi Wine & Cheese Pairings

Wine has been grown in Lodi since around the time of the Gold Rush and today there are still many multi-generational winegrowers and winemakers . In fact, when you talk to the winegrowers and winemakers of Lodi you often hear passion and a sense of pride about the history of the region and their family’s place in it.

The grapes of Lodi have been used for years to help round out and enhance California wines. In fact, more than 24% of the grapes grown in California come from Lodi. In 1986 Lodi was first recognized as it’s own AVA. Since then, Lodi continues to grow expand and evolve. Lodi is no longer just farmers and winegrowers supplying grapes to others but instead there are now some great wineries and winemakers making some amazing wines at great values.

Lodi is home to over 100,000 acres of premium vineyards farmed by more than 750 growers. Originally known for Zinfandel and Tokay, today there are over 75 varietals grown in Lodi AVA.

Recently I had the opportunity to taste some great Lodi wines paired with phenomenal cheeses by knowledgable Cheesemonger Cindy Della Monica of Cheese Central in Lodi who explained how terroir affects cheese just as it does wine and who also explained that not all cheeses go with all wines.

Estate Crush is an incubator in Lodi that helps small wineries operators crush fruit and make wines. They also make their own wines. The 2012 Estate Crush Albarino at $18 a bottle is a crisp clean white wine with nice citrus. It is great paired with Tetilla cheese from Galicia, Spain. The cheese is very soft and the creaminess is a nice compliment to Albarino which is from the same region.

2011 Fields Family Wines Estate Syrah at $22 a bottle is a wine with dark fruit flavors that is earthy with some hints of spice and a delicate smokiness rounding it out. A great balance to the fruit in the Syrah is Old Amsterdam from Westerland in North Country, Holland, a Gouda that has some crystalization in it from the amino acids giving it nice texture and flavor.

2011 Jeremy Wine Co. Costa Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel at $28 a bottle has nice plum and cherry flavors, it’s a softer wine with a nice elegance and is great paired with Midnight Moon from Cypress Grove, a goat’s milk cheese made in Holland and finished in Acata, California. The cheese is creamy with a nice crunch from the crystalization of the amino acids and a sweet rich caramel finish

2010 Vinedos Aurora Petite Sirah at $21 a bottle is a dark rich structured wine with berry flavors enhanced by a spicy elegant finish. It is an amazing pairing with Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar from Fiscalini Farms in Modesto, California. The flavor & crystalization of cheese really compliment the structure of the wine.

If you have the opportunity, give these Lodi wine and cheese pairings a try and if you decide to take a trip to Lodi be sure to visit Central Cheese and ask cheesemonger Cindy to help you pick out some great cheeses to pair with your favorite wines, you’ll definitely be glad you did!

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