The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is 100% Zinfandel sourced from three different sub-AVAs of the Lodi AVA which is inside the Central Valley AVA. Most of the California wine you drink comes from the Central Coast AVA (Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, and others) and the North Coast AVA (Sonoma, Napa, etc..) and they are all coastal or mountain growing regions. Lodi is south and east of Napa and would be too far inland to grow grapes, the Bays to the east of San Fransico extend far enough inland that the resulting delta and river valleys allow cool ocean air to reach the vineyards.
There are many wineries inside the Central Valley but most are small, boutique size, while Lodi has the weather and the terrain to mass-produce wine. Lodi is warmer than most of the coastal growing regions and their wines tend to be produced in a ripe, fruit-forward style, but nothing too out of place with the rest of California wine. Lodi is well known for the Zinfandel grape (though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are quickly becoming favorites), especially with many “old vine” vineyards. The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is one of the few ZIns you will find without “old vine” on the label.
The Federalist line of wines, they have 3 Zinfandels, a couple of Cabs, 2 Red blends and a Chardonnay are part of Terlato Wines. Terlato is the folks who brought you Pinot Grigio with Santa Margarita. Before they broke Pinot Grigio in the United States, it was just another one of Italy’s 100s of White grape varietals. So if you are a Pinot Grigio fan, say “Thank you Terlato“.
I am a fan of Lodi Zinfandel, it’s my go-to AVA, Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Paso Robles all make great Zins, but dollar for dollar I will take Lodi. The blocks of grapes from the different vineyards were fermented separately to allow the final blending to be performed with precision. This Zinfandel was aged in American oak barrels for 12 months with 25% new barrels the rest used. With Red wine, you can get some information on how the wine is produced with how long the wine is barrel-aged and how much new oak is used.
A wine that is aged for a full year with a significant amount of new oak has to have the body and the forceful flavor to match up with the oak influence. That would indicate that the winemaker did the techniques to fully extract the tannins, flavors, and aromas from the grapes. A lighter-bodied wine with an extended oak aging period will take a long time to meld the flavors, so the winemaker has to match the grape extraction with the oak aging. Inexpensive Red wines typically have short oak aging periods, if it is oak-aged at all, so a less complicated winemaking style can be used.
It keeps costs down and allows the wine to be released for sale sooner. But that is not the case with the Federalist Zinfandel and most of my other favorite Zins. These Zinfandels tend to be made in the same style as expensive wines, but since Zinfandel is popular and Lodi is a less costly growing region and many of these wines are mass-produced the cost is reasonable, a quick check of the web showed prices from $12 to $16. The alcohol content is a stout 14.5%.
Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 Tasting Notes
The color a clean, clear and still see-through cherry jelly red. The nose is ripe and spicey, there is jammy black cherry, oak spice, herbs, smoke from the BBQ grill, black pepper, faint chocolate, and plum. This is a Zinfandel that evolves on your palate, it starts off simple, then blossoms. It tastes of strawberry and candy spice, followed by milk chocolate, pepper, tea, and ripe plum. The mid-palate shows licorice, sour cherry, and a salty sensation and adds to along finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and the tannins are sweet. The acidity is hidden by the body of the wine but does give the flavors ample space to unfold.
- With George Washington on the label, I should have showcased this Zinfandel on Presidents Day. I missed my opportunity to be topical.
- I like the Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016, but I knew I would. It is from the location I like, made in the style I like, and in the price range, I like.
- It is rich, flavorful, well-made, with style and just a tiny bit the rustic side. I don’t want my Zin to be too tamed, rough edges, even slightly rough edges give the wine character.