TN: 2007 Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi

2007 Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi - Was given this as a gift. We made chili tonight so I thought this might be a good time to open this bottle. The chili is very hearty and a bit spicy but this jammy and rich wine stands right up to it. This zin could hardly be more ripe, concentrated or sweet yet Im enjoying it in this context. Its kind of like drinking a port that is mellow enough for dinner. Too much american oak detracts but it makes me realize I need to get out of my box and through away my preconcieved notions more. I’m enjoying the diversity. Plus is gratifying to drink a wine grown 40 minutes from your home.

Berry, I’m shocked. SHOCKED!

Like you, I get a huge kick out of drinking wines grown locally, which for me equates primarily to SLH.

I haven’t heard of Klinker Brick, but will give it a go if I find it. My Lodi old-vine go-to has always been Turley “Dogtown”, but I’ve been anxious to try some of the Jessie’s Grove selections from the Royal-Tee and Westwind vineyards.

Strange that I’m opening up to chablis as you are tasting old-vine Zin. Good for us! [highfive.gif]

The universe craves balance

That Klinker Brick Old Ghost is a really interesting Zin to drink, cool vineyard to roll past too.

Klinker Brick’s website actually has a TN from me, harvested from the Parker board!

Berry, almost fell out of my chair when I saw your name posted next to this TN. I love it when you have the a wine that ends up being a joy in the right context, either food, friends or both.

I hear the sentiments on local. Being here in Livermore, I’ve been trying to find a local gem. Haven’t yet, but I’m not giving up.

I’ve recently read The Klinker Brick has one of the better reputations for Lodi. They’ve got a shelf full at our local Safeway, and I’ve been meaning to check it out. Thanks for the note.

Tim - we should compare notes.

Stockton to Lodi offline? And OK, we drink some French?

Count me in.

Even though Lodi is 20 miles down the road from my house, I have never been enamoured with its wines. I would rather drink Amador or Fairplay Zins. Having said that, Lodi has made great strides in the last 10 years. I will see if my local has a bottle of this.

Bill

Count me in too Glenn!

I like this wine as well. Strong notes of mint and chocolate on the nose, almost port-like. Very jammy, but sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for

Matt

Welcome to the board MattTM!

Glenn - I may be interested, except for a very busy schedule the next 6 weeks or so.

I don’t lighten up until the end of August myself.

I would be up for an offline as well…

Is there a vineyard here that should be included in the registry? The Klinker Brick website wasn’t very informative.

How far away from you are Turley’s Salvador and Duarte vineyards?

Mike, a group of us visited a little over two years ago with Steve Felten, owner of Klinker Brick. Here’s some of my Grape-Nutz.com write-up on the visit:

Steve is a 5th-generation Lodi grower, and his family has farmed various wine grapes in the area for many years. In 1996, Steve & Lori Felten started selling Zinfandel fruit to well-known wineries such as Ravenswood, Kenwood, and Rosenblum. In 2000 they began making Zinfandel for their own Klinker Brick label, adding a Syrah to the line-up the following year. Now they use all the Zinfandel they grow, and most of the Syrah. They still grow and sell Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec as well. Steve farms 15 vineyards, all in Lodi’s Mokelumne River sub-AVA, and he notes that yields can be as low as ¼-ton per acre from the old vine Zinfandel. Most of the Zin vineyards that Steve farms are over 90 years old, and all of these older vines are head-trained. Four of the Felten’s vineyards are dry-farmed, while the rest have drip irrigation systems.

The winery name is a reference to the “klinker brick” construction of the Felten’s house along North Alpine Road, a style seen in many old buildings in the Lodi area. Current production is about 30,000 cases per year of two old vine Zinfandel bottlings and one Syrah. The wine is made by Barry Gnekow, who is a consulting winemaker for a number of highly-regarded labels. He works with wineries from Mendocino to Monterey but grew up in the Stockton-Lodi area so he has a natural connection with the area. Klinker Brick uses French oak on Syrah and American oak on Zinfandel – about 60% new for the “Old Vines” bottling, and 100% new for the “Old Ghost.” Barrel aging for the Zins ranges from about 12-15 months. The wine is made by Klinker Brick at the Van Ruiten and Lange Twins wine facilities in Lodi.

Steve had a tasting table already set up for us in the barn next to his house, and we all sat down to taste the two ’05 Klinker Brick Zinfandels (the '04 Syrah had already sold out). The '05 “Old Vine” Zin was sourced from 11 vineyard blocks, the vines ranging in age from 35 to over 100 years old. The winery’s flagship “Old Ghost” Zin is always selected from a single lot, but can be from any of the vineyards. Annual production of the “Old Ghost” is between 1,000-2,000 cases. The '05 vintage is from a 93-year old vineyard, producing a yield of just under one ton per acre. The name is an homage to the oldest Zin vineyards in Lodi – and the wooden gift box for the wine is appropriately in the shape of a coffin!

So you can see that the “Old Ghost” is not consistently sourced from the same vineyard every year. But it would be well worth talking with Steve to find out more about the vineyards he uses for Klinker Brick - and I’m sure he knows quite a bit about other Lodi old-vine Zin vineyards as well.

Good stuff Ken, thanks!