Wine Line: Lodi’s Drava Wines score

One of Lodi’s newest and probably smallest wineries, Drava Wines, brought home three medals in the 2019 SF Chronicle Wine Competition. The 2015 Grenache garnered a silver and the 2015 Mourvedre and the 2015 Red Blend, Maribor, scored bronze. With more than 6,800 wines entered from 37 states, the owners of the young winery,

Steve and William Carson are entitled to smile. They are in their fourth vintage, using Lodi certified sustainable wine grapes. Their production is under 1,000 cases. Steve, with a degree in viticulture and enology from U.C. Davis, is the winemaker. He prefers to not make the same wines every year. In 2014, he made wines from Bordeaux varietals, in 2015 Rhone and in 2017 Italian varietals. In 2018 he focused on local Lodi varietals, including Old Vine Zinfandel, Primitivo, Syrah and Petite Sirah. The 2016 crush was put on hold while he built his own winery in Lodi at 1378 East Turner Road. William, with a degree in economics from Vanderbuilt University, handles sales and marketing. Prior to partnering with his brother, he spent a decade plus in Slovenia teaching English.

The Navigator and I spent an enjoyable hour-plus tasting and hearing the back story. We also look forward to returning to try the 2017 Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Put Drava Wines on your must-visit list. In addition to tasting their award-winning wines you’ll learn about the Drava, the city of Maribor, what a Zastava is and you’ll see (but not taste) a rare bottle of Modra Karcina wine. The brothers are great hosts. Cheers!

What’s on Our Table

The 2018 Roses. The 2017s should go on sale soon and there should be some good buys if they do. The Oak Ridge Winery 2018 OZV Rose of Primitivo made our table (think rose petals and strawberries). It’s an excellent buy at $13 and is much less on sale. Red Blends are incredibly popular. These three were winners in a blind tasting of six from Grocery Outlet, all under $5: The 2017 Casa Santos Lima, the 2016 Revelare and the 2013 Kendall-Jackson Avant. All are fruit-forward daily sippers. In a past column I wrote Costco had a great selection of Zinfandels. The zin I keep going back to is the well-balanced Steele Mendocino Pacini Vineyard. It was planted in1940, dry farmed, head pruned and has low yields. Blueberry aromas, flavors of ripe cherry, spices, cola and light tannins make for a long smooth finish. It gets 90-plus scores, the SRP is $20 and at Costco it is under $13. Cheers!

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