Sunday, January 15, 2012

STUCK IN LODI, AGAIN - Pt. 2 - Harney Lane Wines

Pt. 2
Harney Lane Wines

With our trusty Lodi wine-country map in hand (and make no mistake about it, this is “country”) Bob, Nguyen, Richard and I jumped back into the comfy Forrester happy to still be stuck in Lodi.

After driving down country roads, we pulled onto Harney Lane with high hopes that more fine wine awaited us. Within a nanosecond we were parked and walking past a lovely garden...

an outdoor patio, fire pit and all...

and up to a simple, tasteful modern structure of stucco and flagstone bricks.

Simple, clean lines with a beige and brown color palate prevailed inside the tasting room.  We sidled up to the honey and brown-hued granite bar to start some serious sipping.

Brindy and Courtney were our baristas. 

Their names suited them. Warm, welcoming, and outgoing, they were perfect ambassadors for the winery that adds “love, laughter and family” to every bottle of wine.  I don’t know how you bottle love, laughter and family, but Harney Lane is a family owned and operated winery (and vineyards) headed by George Mettler who, like his ancestors, has been growing grapes his whole life (the first family vineyard was planted in 1907).

Brindy and Courtney offered to serve us in the lounge area that boasted comfortable woven rattan and leather chairs in front of a cement fireplace, and surrounding an old luggage train depot cart serving as a coffee table. 

But I like standing at the bar – it’s more conducive for conversation with the baristas and for asking questions about the wine… so at the bar we stayed.

One of the first things I noticed was a proudly displayed autographed bottle of wine.  The girls told me that it was from the winery’s very first vintage in 2006 signed, in celebration, by its wine club members. 

Though I liked the Harney Lane’s whites, especially it’s crisp and citrus-y 2010 Albarino ($19) that would be a perfect match for some spicy Thai food, it’s the winery’s red wines that are the stars.

The 2008 Lodi Zinfandel ($22) a gold 2011 Orange County Wine competition winner was just that – a winner.  And the “just released” 2009 old vine Lizzy James Vineyard Zinfandel ($33) was velvety smooth, rich and delicious.

Three other favorites were the 2009 Tempranillo ($25), the 2008 Petite Sirah ($24) and the “I could sip this all day” Old Vine Zinfandel Port ($35), dessert in a bottle.

All wines are discounted for Wine Club members – a club definitely worth joining if you’re not able to visit Harney Lane.  It’s out in the country and far from the fast lane, but if you find you’re stuck in Lodi, again, don’t kick into the passing lane for this one.  Stop and smell the bouquets.

Harney Lane
9010 E. Harney Lane
Lodi, Calif. 95240

The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday 12-5pm.

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