Friday, January 15, 2010

Macchia Wines - the "spot" in Lodi for Zinfandel

Macchia, Italian for “the spot”, is a Lodi winery that has proven to be the spot in Lodi to discover high quality wines at reasonable prices. Tim Holdener is the owner/winemaker who started Macchia in 2001 and reaches out to all the California appellations to find the right grapes in the “best spots” for their seven Zinfandel wines and a handful of other Italian varietals. "Winemaking technology has improved dramatically in the last two decades," Holdener explained. "But it is still the quality of the fruit you start with that ultimately determines how good your wine will turn out."

Macchia specializes in Zinfandel. The Zinfandel grape has an uneven ripening, in which the shoulders ripen early, then the back and front of the cluster followed by the top and bottom. The winemaker must select the right time to pick the cluster where all the grapes have ripened fully. Since many of the grapes in the cluster will be hanging on the vine longer than necessary the result is a high sugar content and, thus, a high resulting alcohol content. Zinfandel, especially old vine Zin, can take an aggressive oak treatment and still produce a balanced wine. The advantage of a Zinfandel is that its comparisons are local. Thus, a Cabernet Sauvignon will always be compared to Bordeaux, a Sangiovese will always be compared to a Tuscany, but for a Zin, the California winemakers set their own comparisons.

There are 10 different Zinfandels available from Macchia. The 2007 Zinfandel “Oblivious” uses grapes form a small vineyard that backs up against an industrial park. It is dry farmed, thus only receiving water when it rains. This has contributed to the intensity of the grapes grown in this vineyard. These landowners appear to be oblivious to the fact that this land produces great Zin. This wine is loaded with the aromas and flavors of great black fruit including cherry, black raspberry and plum with a tasty complex of spices.

The 2007 Zinfandel “Outrageous” is from Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel fruit on the Noma Ranch. These 80 year old vines are personally managed by the Macchia winemaker who has set strict limits on the crop load and irrigation methods. Great effort has been put into the pruning, dropping unwanted clusters to insure even ripening and balance. This wine delivers great aromas and flavors with a long finish and good integration of spices and oaky flavors.

In addition to the great Zins, Macchia produces a selection of Italian varietals. The 2008 Barbera “Delicious” is a dark red wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit including cherry, raspberry and blackberry. The blend of fruit and spices makes this a very food friendly wine.

The Macchia tasting room is located at 7099 E. Peltier Road, a couple miles east of Hwy 99 in Lodi.

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