Unexpected Luxury and Award-Winning Wines
I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Lodi’s growing wine industry and wanted to make a weekend excursion if I could find suitable accommodations. To my delight, Lodi has a luxury boutique hotel, Wine & Roses. That was all I needed to know to plan a weekend escape to the Lodi Wine Country during First Sip Wine Weekend. During the two-day wine event 40 wineries were available for barrel tastings of their new 2010 wines, as well as tasting selections of their bottled wines.
What makes Lodi Wine Country unique is the access to owners and winemakers. At each winery you are likely to meet and talk with people that created the wine. Engaging in conversations with the winemaker, learning about their philosophy for making wine, and what wine they are drinking at home, makes the experience more fun. While 2010 was a difficult year for many California wine regions, for Lodi it was one of the best years. The perfect confluence of cooler weather and later harvest likely make this a banner year for Lodi wines.
If you drink California wines, chances are you have had wine from Lodi, they are often used in premium blends for Napa wines. While Lodi has been growing grapes for decades, it is only recently that many have begun to make their own wines. There are a few pioneers such as The Lucas Winery, who have produced award-winning wines for 30 years. Their winemaker also worked for Opus, where she crafted award-winning wines and now she makes them for the Lucas Winery. The Lange Twins Winery has been growing grapes for others and managing vineyards but have only recently begun making wines of their own, in addition to their private label business. What may surprise you is the sophistication of these wines. Lodi is producing full-bodied wines that allow the fruit to shine rather than the finish.
Wineries were as varied as the wine, ranging from downtown tasting rooms in historic Lodi, such as Grand Amis and newcomer Jeremy Wine Company to rustic barn style tasting rooms, and fancy Napa style tasting rooms. In every case, a warm welcome and great wine awaited. And surprisingly enough, Lodi makes other great wine beyond Zinfandel. Alicante Bouschet, Alborino, Tempranillo, Barbera, Primitivo, Petite Sirah, Vermentino, and Sangiovese are just a few of the other great wines from Lodi.
At the end of a long day of tasting wine, it was a pleasure to return to the home-base of Wine & Roses. The 7-acre grounds were once a ranch and are fun to explore. The beautifully appointed rooms come in different themes: Palm King Room features a masculine, chic decor with leather furniture, artistic geometric rug and a balcony or terrace; Spa Fireplace Rooms have a cool blue color palette with river-rock floors in the bathroom with large tub, fireplace and terrace; or the Garden Fireplace Rooms with a garden theme, fireplace and terrace. All have high-thread count linens, oversize pillows and comfortable beds; bathtubs are big enough for two and the terrace or balcony is great place to unwind, sipping a glass of wine before dinner.
Speaking of dinner, if you don’t feel like driving to town, eat at Wine & Roses Restaurant, where a gourmet meal prepared by a French Chef awaits. Food is as beautiful as it is delicious, your taste-buds will thank you! The restaurant, located in the old ranch house of the estate, is both romantic and charming. The bar has live music and is great place to linger over a cocktail before turning in.
You won’t want to miss getting a treatment at Wine & Roses Spa, one of the most beautiful spas I’ve seen. There are indoor and outdoor areas, including a plunge pool and fire-pit for further relaxation. Enjoy a couples treatment with candlelit bath, massage, and wine and snacks in the private courtyard or in front of the indoor fireplace. They also offer a full range of facials, massage, body treatments, hair and nail services. Don’t miss the outdoor pool and jacuzzi, perfect any time of day and the fitness center, one of the largest, complete with every exercise machine you could wish for and no waiting.
Wine & Roses is located at 2505 W Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242, phone 209.334.6988
Other Lodi Wine Events include:
Wine & Chocolate on February 12-13, 2011
Zinfest Wine Festival on May 13-15, 2011
Treasure Island Wine Fest held in October
First Sip Wine Weekend held in November