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Monday, July 29, 2013

Tasting With: Joe Lange of Lange Twins Winery – Lodi, California

There are about 60 wine tasting rooms and 80 wineries in Lodi, a lot more than when Credence Clearwater Revival opined about being “stuck in Lodi again” in 1969. Yet most people either,
a) have never heard of Lodi, or,
b) have no idea even remotely where it is (just north of Stockton if that helps). 

So when Joe Lange and his lovely wife, Amanda, came to Santa Barbara in July, 2013, we met for lunch to taste some of his wines and to talk about Lodi, Lange Twins and leverage.
Joe is not the winemaker, but he and his four siblings do run the operation. The first vintage was 2005 and this is a family ideal, seeing as how the Lange’s, originally from Germany, are 5th generation Lodites (I don’t think that’s the correct term, but I like it). The land they currently grow grapes on - much is sold to other wineries under contract- was, back in the day, dry farmed watermelon. Joe’s grandfather planted grapes and made some wine, but it wasn’t really a business enterprise until Joe’s father and his twin brother, Randall and Bradford, decided to get serious about wine. 
Joe & Amanda Lange
Currently Lange Twins growing 23 different varieties, and growing them as certified green and sustainable - after all, we need to respect our earth. But it took borrowing money from the bank and fully leveraging everything they had to create their winery however Joe tells me the Lange family is totally committed, an “all hands on deck,” philosophy. And since Lodi isn’t on the radar for most people, they have more work to do than a winery located in a known wine region. But Lodi is working towards a more wine-centric core with new places to stay and new restaurants coming on line. Currently it’s a stop on the way to or from someplace else: drive in off Highway 99, visit a few wineries, then leave. But places like Lange Twins will encourage folks to stay a little bit longer. The great thing about Lange Twins is price to quality, something I constantly look for and promote. Aside from Joe’s favorite, the Petite Verdot, try the wines and discover your personal preference. LANGE TWINS
Caricature is one of their most popular wines

What We Tasted Together
2009 Midnight Reserve ($30) a Bordeaux blend of Cab, Merlot, a wee bit of Petit Verdot and an even wee-er bit of Malbec. There’s cocoa and blackberry: a meet n’ greet of bright red fruit, followed by darker, deeper notes on the mid and back palate.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc – Musque Clone ($13) a mild non-grassy Sauv Blanc, the Musque gives it a more floral element and it’s aged sur lie. This is not an aggressive herbaceous wine, but a soft and restrained one.

2011 Moscato (13) a super wine with just 4% residual sugar so it hints at sweet but isn’t candy. Love the beautiful nose of pear, lemon and honeysuckle. It’s easy to drink this like water – you’ve been warned.

2010 Zinfandel ($15) is all bang for the buck here. It’s blueberry and spice, raspberry and pepper, and has some 103 year old-vine Zin in this vintage. All about quality.

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