When Valentine’s Day hits and you’re looking to romance someone special, it’s hard to look past the sparkling wineries in Lodi’s backyard. With plenty to choose from, we’re highlighting one option for big, bold reds that match the winter season, and the gorgeous red hues we’re all donning to celebrate love. At Mettler Family Vineyards, the tasting room is open to visitors Thursday through Monday, giving you plenty of opportunity to taste—including on V-Day itself.
But while you’re in, what are you going to drink? While there are options for those that enjoy a white or lighter red, we’re focused on the bigger sips that can really stand up to any meal you pair them with. Read on for our picks of some of the best wines to impress your date with this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re sipping on site or grabbing a bottle to uncork with your home-cooked meal.
2018 Lodi ‘Epicenter’ Old Vine Zin
This Mettler staple is one of the most popular wines to come out of the tasting room with every vintage. The 2018 bottle is no exception. Boasting grapes from one of the oldest zinfandel vineyards in the Mettler Family collection, nestled into the Mokelumne River sub-appellation—the epicenter of the OVZ district—the vines date back more than 50 years while also following sustainable winegrowing protocols as set forth by Lodi Rules.
Deep and inky in color, this blend is earthy and smoky on the nose, with notes of blackberry, vanilla, and plum. On the palate, you’ll taste the ripe berries as well as hints of licorice, herbs, and black pepper. Not a sweet zinfandel, but rather a complex combination of flavors with softly integrated tannins, this wine has no trouble standing up to the robust flavors in stews or grilled meats.
2018 Lodi Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Wines from three vineyards are combined to create this popular cabernet. The fruit comes from the family’s Jahant, Clements Hills, and Mokelumne River vineyards, combining grapes from three contrasting regions.
Deep garnet in color, tasters will first notice dark cherry, toast, cedar, and nutmeg on the nose. The dark cherries and plums will be most prominent on the palate, with whispers of vanilla. Mid-palate, the velvety texture of the wine shines through, leading to moderate tannins and some acidity. Grab a bottle to crack open now or save for a few years. In the right conditions, this cab is expected to age nicely in the bottle.
2019 Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah thrives in the Mediterranean climate offered in the Lodi AVA. Delta breezes blow in to cool off the vines after high daytime temperatures, creating an ideal growing climate for this particular grape type.
Dark purple as it pours, this estate-grown wine hits the nose first with dark berry and plum notes. Upon tasting, flavors of pepper and honey may be distinguishable. Using both French Oak (20 percent) and Neutral Oak (80 percent) to create the unique flavor profile, the tannins are well-integrated while the wine remains bold and lush with a lingering finish.
If you’re taking advantage of the luxurious and modern bar for your drinking line-up, we recommend accompanying any bottle, glass, or tasting with a charcuterie board. Each is prepared with three different cheeses, which rotate as the team sees fit. “We always like to change it up, so it is something new, but we normally serve cheddar, gouda, or manchego,” says Nick Stefan of Mettler Family Vineyards. The third cheese is typically a chevre served with seasonal jam, likely cranberry this time of year. To round it out, a selection of crackers and chocolate-covered almonds decorate the board. For an extra special touch—and one that makes all the more sense this time of year—salami is served in the shape of a rose.
Stop by and sip:
Mettler Family Vineyards
7889 E. Harney Ln., Lodi