Klinker Brick Lodi Farrah Syrah 2012
Nestled in the heart of Lodi’s most prestigious Mokelumne AVA, sit 750 acres of estate vineyards, many of which have been farmed consistently by the Felten family for 6 generations. The soils are comprised of deep granite sandy loam, giving wines of this region a distinctive minerality. Situated at the edge of the Sacramento Delta, Pacific breezes gust through the Mokelumne AVA, cooling grapes, and creating a Mediterranean climate ideally suited for growing varietals such as Zinfandel, Syrah and Albarino.
Deeply committed to preserving the family’s ancient vineyards, Steve Felten founded Klinker Brick Winery in 2000 and is succeeded by daughter Farrah in ownership. An extension of the family is head winemaker Joseph Smith. Originally form Belize, Joe fell in love with wine after working crush in California in the early nineties. He has had a hand in every vintage of Klinker Brick, masterfully highlighting subtle terroir nuances and taming the robust fruit flavors indicative of the region with acidity and balance.
California is a winemaking colossus; by itself it is the fourth largest producer in the world. Red wine accounts for 56% of the total by volume, and red grapes 63% of total acres planted. In addition, a number of California red wines are heralded as being among the most prestigious and sought-after wines in the world.
While the state’s incredibly diverse geography, soils and microclimates allow for a wide array of styles, the key factor unifying California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season. This leads to well-developed fruit marked both by impressive ripeness and balancing acidity.
The state’s most famous red wine region, of course, is Napa Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as king. But California boasts a wealth of other impressive appellations. The much larger and climatically varied Sonoma County also produces world class California Cabernet, along with wonderful examples of California Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Fine versions of Cabernet and Zinfandel hail from Paso Robles as well, which is also gaining fame with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache. As for Pinot Noir, terrific examples can be found from AVA’s such as Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. Wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are making wonderful Syrahs, and the Sierra Foothill appellations are proving to be an experimental hotbed, with Italian and Spanish varietals employed to great effect.
This of course is a mere sketch. The subject of California red wine is as deep and broad as an ocean, and absolutely a joy to explore!