Thursday, January 14, 2010

Harney Lane Winery - Wines based on five generations of farming in Lodi

Harney Lane winery is one of the newer wineries in Lodi, but one of the oldest winegrowers. The Mettlers, owners of Harney Lane, are fifth generation farmers in the Lodi area. The property was purchased in 1900 and by 1907 the first grapes were planted. For many decades local wineries were producing award-winning wines using Harney Lane grapes. In 2007 the decision was made to start producing their own wines and in August 2009 their new tasting room opened. Only a select small portion of their grapes are retained for their own wines and they still supply grapes to many wineries in the area. There are 40 acres of vineyard planted next to the winery and a total of 400 acres total estate properties.

The Mettler family is headed by George and Kathleen Mettler. It was George’s great grandfather who first purchased the Harney Lane land and started farming and his grandfather planted the first vineyards. George’s son-in-law Kyle Lerner and his wife Jorja carry on the farming tradition and have added in the winemaking aspect of the business. The winemaker at Harney Lane is Chad Jacobs a native of California’s Central Valley and also born into a farming family.

Their first vintages have proven that this is a winery that has successfully blended a farmer’s love and stewardship of the land, the heart of family and a passion for wine to produce premium wine that reflects the quality that is a symbol of what Lodi can be.

The 2008 Albarino comes from a vineyard directly behind the new winery. It is harvested in the cool of the early morning and utilizes sur lie yeast aging to give it a silky mouthfeel. It has the aromas of tropical fruit and on the palate you detect a slight minerality blended with crisp acidity and tropical flavors. There is a touch of a lemon-lime on the aftertaste.

Harney Lane 2008 Dry Rose is a blend of Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Primitivo. This is a true dry Rose produced in a Sangee method with crispness and balance that allows you to pair it with a variety of foods, or simply savor on a summer afternoon on your patio. This light salmon colored wine has ripe red fruit flavors are prevalent on the nose and the palate, with cherry, strawberry, cranberry and raspberry. There is a distinctive vanilla quality and due to the acidity, there is a citrus quality that particularly shows up in the finish.

Primitivo is a close relation to Zinfandel and many feel it is the same grape. Harney Lane recognizes the distinct differences between Primitivo and Zinfandel and highlights these differences in their wines. Primitive clusters are more elongated than Zinfandel clusters. There is significantly more tannin in Primitivo that requires a different oak profile and they use more American oak than they would with Zinfandel. Heavier French oak is also used. Harney Lane uses 33% new oak and 25% 2-year oak and the remaining neutral oak in production of the Primitivo. The Harney Lane Primitivo is non-vintage, utilizing grapes from different vintages. It has the aromas of brown sugar, red cherry, currant and tobacco. Tasting this wine presents the same red fruit flavors with a blend of smoked clove, and vanilla, plus a pecan pie quality.

The 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel comes from their Lizzie James vineyard that was planted in 1904. This Zin has jammy dark fruit flavors including a heavy dose of raspberry and black cherry with a cocoa and tobacco qualities. A balanced vanilla finish lasts long. The Old Vine Zinfandel was a Gold medal winner in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

For more info: Harney Lane Winery

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