Continuing the “Virtual Wine Tasting” in Different Regions While Staying in Place. Prie Winery in Lodi, California
Quaint, small, charming may be some of the words to describe the tasting room which hold about 4-6 people comfortably. That may be a “turn off” but the reality is that the two owners John and Lisa Gash have hearts and minds the size of Texas. Originally from Livermore and working at Lawrence Livermore Labs, they understood wine from being in the beautiful Livermore Valley. Their adventure into the wine business began with Lisa starting this as a hobby. Today John and Lisa, who are “self-taught” winemakers, credit their friends and community in helping them achieve all their accolades. The two make a great “Ying and Yang” team of winemaking prowess and creativity/artistic bent.
They started officially in 2010 in Livermore sourcing grapes from the iconic Soucie Vineyard in Lodi. In 2012 they purchased the Cliff Mettler house and vineyard. They constructed the winery and in 2015 opened their boutique tasting room.
A road less travelled would be a great theme for the wine offerings. Their goals is to source from individual vineyards (including their own) to provide an expression of the terroir of Lodi AVA and surrounding areas.
Currently Prie has some sixteen wines for sale (different vintages). Their whites are Vermentino and Picpoul Blanc. A Carignane Rose is also offered. The reds are Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dornfelder, Cabernet Franc, Carignane, Barbera, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Old Vine Zinfandel. They recently announced the first Mencia produced wine from the Silvaspoons Vineyard in Lodi. It is a Spanish wine with hints of black tea and currant. They also offer a couple of blends.
The Wines – Two Specific Wines
Today I am writing about two of their wines. The first wine is their Dornfelder. So what is Dornfelder? Dornfelder is not a common household name for wine! Only 69 acres are planted in the California with 43 acres in San Joaquin County and 19 acres in Sacrament County. That leave only 7 acres for the rest of the state. August Karl Herold (1902-1973) cross pollenated Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe (two German varietals) to make Dornfelder and was recognized by the authorities in Germany in 1979. He further went on to make Heggel and it was recognized in 1994 as a sister grape of Dornfelder. The grape name Dornfelder was in honor of Immanuel August Ludwig Dornfeld (1796-1869) who was a proponent of and instrumental in creating the viticultural school in Weinsberg. Dornfelder is now the second most grown red grape varietal in Germany (who knew?). The typical flavor profile is dark on the eye, possess a velvety texture, slightly floral and definitely has dark fruit flavors (plum, blackberry, dark cherry) and is oaked. While typically dry to semi-dry, some can possess a sweetness. This 2018 Prie Dornfelder was aged 12 months in neutral French oak. It is 100% Dornfelder varietal and is from the Mokelumne River sub-AVA in Lodi. Currently it lists for $27.
The second wine is Prie Winery’s 2016 Old Vine Zinfandel. This Zinfandel is perhaps my favorite Zinfandel in the cellar. It is unique in color, texture and is a medium-bodied wine. The initial reaction that comes to mind in describing this wine is the light and unique color for a Zinfandel. I found it elegant and with a silky smooth finish. It had the typical blackberry and blueberry flavors but no harsh tannins or jam characteristics. This is now one of my favorite Zinfandels as opposed to some very jammy or heavily extruded Zinfandels.
The Food Pairing
Dornfelder – The wine was paired with a tri-tip steak, potatoes and side garden salad. The food pairing recommendations for this wine are roast meats, game dishes (venison) and rich cheeses. When wooden barrels are introduced to Dornfelder it brings out the tannin and tends to minimize the fruitiness. It is mildly acidic and full body with a deep, deep coloring. This Prie 2018 Dornfelder went well with the tri-tip steak and flavors oozed out with the introduction of the meat. It provided wonderful flavor and enough acidity to compliment the dinner. Admittedly after dinner with the second glass without food, it did not have the same appeal. So a food pairing is recommended.
Old Vine Zinfandel – this was paired with a mesquite marinated chicken, fettuccini pasta with vegetables prepared in light olive oil and parmesan sauce. A steamed artichoke and fresh garden salad also completed the meal. The soft spiciness of did not overpower the chicken.
This truly is a small run family operation that makes wonderful unique and scrumptious wines for consumers. Both of these wines (and their Barbera) now have a home in my cellar. While the tasting room is not open, they are taking phone orders to ship out wines.