A broad-shouldered Syrah that entices

Story Image

Well-received: The 2010 Klinker Brick “Farrah” Syrah is a tribute to what the vibrant character of Syrah can be at its best. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

Lodi is well known for being the heart and soul of Zinfandel country but it is also home for varietals that thrive in the warm summer sun of this rich delta. This area of California’s Central Valley is just south of the state capital of Sacramento in a flat, fertile region know as the San Joaquin Valley.

Not as prestigious as Napa or Sonoma, but within this quiet community reside 60 wineries with over 75,000 acres of vineyards, producing 18 percent of California’s total grape production. The prolonged, hot summer days that exceed 90 degrees combined with the fine sandy loam and gravely soils contribute to the distinctive flavors that arise from the old vine grape varietals that are grown in Lodi.

Farming and grape growing have always been essential to Lodi, and in 1986 they were granted their own American Viticultural Area (AVA) in recognition for the style of wines that have evolved from this region. Today this fertile delta boasts not only of Zinfandels but also of red grapes, including Syrah, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon along with small amounts of the Spanish varietals of Tempranillo, Garnache and Monastrell. Make no mistake that the expressions of wines from this region are rarely subtle, but instead they entice consumers with their broad-shouldered muscular elements.

With ancestral ties to Germany and Russia, Klinker Brick owners Steve and Lori Felten are a fifth generation grape-growing family that pride themselves in their modest production of exotic Zinfandels and Syrah. The 2010 Klinker Brick “Farrah” Syrah is named after the Felton’s daughter and is a tribute to what the vibrant character of Syrah can be at its best. It has been well received by the press and received 95 points along with a gold medal from the California State Fair. This opaque beauty is packed with chunks of creamy dark chocolate, fresh blueberries, black olive tapenade and unctuous dark plums. There is an essence of black raspberry liqueur mixed with vanilla beans flavors that make this wine stand in the front of the pack among New World Syrahs.

Suggested Retail: $18.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.