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Tierra Divina REDS 2012
Perfect with bistro, burgers, hearty pastas, and pizza. The People have spoken!
Patrick majored in English, got a masters degree in Theology at Harvard then played viola in several orchestras in Sonoma County (more recently, he has seen the light and now performs bluegrass on the fidlde). While studying Buddhism and living at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, he found his calling in viticulture. A self-proclaimed "vineyard guy," Patrick oversees the farming of every Tierra Divina vineyard in Lodi and Argentina. He believes that great wines start in heritage (aka old-vine) vineyards. Heritage vines' complex root structures spread broadly to collect all the micro-elements the soil can provide and they naturally produce lower yields, lending higher-concentrations of flavor in the wines. Starting with a great vineyard then focusing on proper management minimizes the need for "fixing" or manipulating in the winery. Tierra Divina wines are honest and vineyard-specific wines that exhibit integrity and depth.
These days, Tierra Divina vineyards are found exclusively in Lodi, the "Zinfandel Capital of the World," and Mendoza, Argentina where malbecs are the acclaimed varietal. REDS, an old-vine zinfandel blend and ZaZin, are known for being balanced, elegant wines in contrast to many highly-extracted, over-the-top Lodi zins. Terra Rosa, Tierra Divina and Vale la Pena are vineyard-specific, varietally-correct, 100% malbecs. They tend to be less oaky and more balanced than their Mendoza counterparts. Patrick flies to Argentina 5 to 6 times per year to sustainably farm the heritage vineyards in the foothills of the Andes mountains. He makes the wine in Argentina, then ships it up in containers where he barrel-ages and bottles it in Sonoma County.
With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.
By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.