It was a beautiful if slightly cool April day in Lodi as we ventured out to Acquiesce Winery, located north of Lodi and east of Hwy 99. Acquiesce has the unique characteristic of producing only white wines (well, OK they make a rose but that is a story in itself). Their wines are typically minerally, with good acid and varietal character. More of a first world style, as opposed to the heavily fruit forward new world style that is typical of California. When we pulled in, it was clear that Sunday was a popular day for visits. Also, they had just had two wine club pickup parties on the Friday and Saturday beforehand, so there had just been new releases and most of the wines were available for tasting and purchase. Hence the crowd. This is not typical for Acquiesce, as they often sell out their wines before the next vintage is available.
Some cool cars were in the parking lot. One in particular,
The tasting room is a good size. There are 3 small tables and 1 large table that tasters can sit at and go through the flight, as well as bar space for about 10.
The tables are a nice touch, wine tasting is a tough endeavor and once in a while it is great to be able to sit instead of stand.
Steph taking a photo….of:
Now for the wines…
2016 Grenache Blanc $25
Acquiesce farms about an acre of this varietal. Apparently there are only 300 acres planted in all of the US. Gord says “Pale gold color. Medium intensity pear nose, a bit of tutti frutti (second pour was a bit toasty). Nice fruit overall. Low medium to medium acid, medium body, rich entry, ripe white stone fruit attack. Citric mid palate, with good acid. Steely mineral notes on finish. This wine has nice body, with good minerality. Good plus.”
Steph observes: I noted minerality, floral and citrus notes with an apple accent on the nose. The flavor had minerality with citrus/apple and finishing with spicey pepper note. Very delicate in the mouth, yet complex. The offered pairing of Thyme Gouda Crackers with L’Epicurien Violet Flower Confit ( sold at the winery) was ok, but I would really love some salmon with this wine. The winery suggests pairing with seafood, salads, sushi, chicken, cream sauces and spicy Asian AND Mexican dishes. A wine this versatile, you can’t go wrong. Very good!
After reading Steph’s notes, Gord adds “WTF? What doesn’t this wine go with? Actually, the salmon suggestion is spot on. This wine would be great with a perfectly cooked salmon with a light sauce.”
2015 Belle Blanc $26
The Belle Blanc is a blend of 45% Grenache Blanc, 45% Rousanne, and 10% Viognier. Gord says “color is pale medium gold. There is a tutti frutti aroma right off the bat, with a bit of a dry dusty note. The nose is OK, but somewhat unremarkable. On the palate there is low medium acidity, with a pear and other undefined white fruits on the attack. An intense nuttiness shows up in the mid palate – I mean really intense. The Rousanne in the blend is evident from this. The nutty wood notes continue to the finish, with a prickly mineral note developing. Unlike the nose, the palate on this wine is remarkable. Very good.”
The Belle Blanc was the Double Gold Winner at the 2017 American Fine Wine Competition, so congratulations! Steph observed that, first off, this wine is bright and cheery. Mineral notes, Apple/pear with a hint of pineapple on the nose. The mineral (wet stone) upon initial tasting with hints of pineapple and spicey cinnamon pepper and a citrus finish are very enjoyable. Steph’s rating is good to great.
The tasting was paired with mustard butter bean spread. It is a good thing, as Martha used to say. She’s with Snoop Dog now, who knows what she now says.
2016 Viognier $24
Viognier is another Rhone varietal, like Rousanne and Picpoul Blanc. Gord says “Pale plus gold. Hint of dried herb. White fruit, pear, and more of that tutti frutti note. I don’t get the aroma that I often associate with viognier, which is orange peel. Palate has medium heavy body, low to low medium acid, with a rich feel entry. White pear fruit on entry, with a slightly nutty mineral mid palate. Stoney note on finish. Good length. Good.
Steph comments: I detected orange blossom, stone fruit, tropical Jolly Ranchers with minerality on the nose. I tasted spicey Jolly Rancher, mythical stone fruit and tropical fruit,with a pineapple/lemon spicey finish. Light in the mouth, refreshing and cleansing on the palate. Good. The Spicey Chutney paired with the Viognier was a winner!
2016 Grenache Rose $24
Acquiesce makes a true rose – the grapes are picked to be made into rose, unlike most roses that are a bleed off or “saignee” of must (fermenting crushed grapes) that is primarily meant for red wine. As a result, the grapes are picked earlier, with higher acidity and predominant red fruit flavors. This is the wine making style of true rose regions like Provence and Tavel. It’s great to see a California winery using the same techniques.
Gord says “pale ruby color, not pink but also not salmon. Nice color. The wine was a bit too cold when poured, and the nose was really closed. As it warmed up I was getting watermelon fruit notes. At the tail end of the sniff, there was a very slight dirt and flower note that is typical of Grenache. The palate had low to low medium acid. The attack was sweet red cherry, with a bit of watermelon. Medium to medium heavy body, with a fruity strawberry mid palate. Slight minerality on finish. This is a nice dry rose. Good to very good.”
Stephanie says: this nose is floral, with a light red fruit. In the mouth I noted floral attributes with slightly tart strawberry flavors, mineral qualities. Pairing with the cream cheese blended with cherry pepper jelly was a good move. OK to good.
2016 Picpoul Blanc $24
Acquiesce has about 1 acre of Picpoul planted, and apparently there are only 40 acres planted in the US. Picpoul is commonly used in the Rhone for white blends – Picpoul translates as “lip stinger”, so we can expect a fair amount of acid here.
Gord says “pale plus gold. Dry nose, a slight dusty floral note, but really I don’t get a lot of nose here. On the palate there is low medium acid, with a peach / white fruit attack that carries to mid palate, where it is overtaken by a nutty stoney/shell finish. This minerally shell/stone flavor lasts and lasts. I can see how this wine is recommended as an ideal pairing for oysters or other shellfish. The minerality is the main feature. Good.”
And now Steph: Floral on the nose, with some mineral and stone fruit attributes, finishing with a bit of lemon zest. Starts in the mouth with minerality and finishes with a pineapple taste that morphs to a cleansing citrus finish. Good.
So that concludes our tasting. Overall, it was great to try the wines and chat with Sue Tipton, owner and wine maker. We were curious why she only makes whites (no reds).
Sue responded that when she started out making wines, she found that red wines were too easy and whites were way more challenging (as home winemakers, we totally agree). She also said that rose is the hardest wine to make, they can “go a little stinky and can go a little south on you”. They ferment whites and the rose at 55 degrees, and there is always a risk of malolactic fermentation which they try to avoid. The rose is on the skins for 24 hours.
Acquiesce has converted many “red only” drinkers to the joys of white wine, with wines that are complex and different. Great quote of the day from Sue, “my whole point is to acquiesce to nature”. Hence the winery name. Great story!