The Thomas Allen Experience

One of the newer wineries to open a tasting room in the Lodi area is Thomas Allen, located at 5573 West Woodbridge Road (just east of I-5).

We visited in early May for an extensive tasting experience with Lisa Brand, Tasting Room and Event Manager, and Allen Lombardi, owner and winemaker. OK, that’s the Allen part – who is Thomas?

Turns out that Allen hails from New Jersey. He grew up in a family that had generations of experience making wine for their own consumption, and Allen was now making his own “home brew”. New Jersey home winemakers have to import grapes or juice, and Allen was looking for a source. He found a fellow by the name of Mike in Lodi that was willing to ship some fruit to him. As the story goes, it was shipped with dry ice in an old army foot locker. Regardless of the logistics, the fruit was great and made good wine. Allen saw an opportunity and struck up a partnership with Mike to ship grapes and juice all over the country for home winemakers. Mike, AKA Thomas Michael Stokes, is part of the Stokes family that farm multiple vineyards in the area, and thus had access to all sort of quality Lodi fruit. Thus was born Thomas Allen Vineyards and Winery.

Allen has now relocated with his family to Lodi, and Thomas Allen is ramping up production of Lodi appellation wines under their new label. After tasting through their current lineup, we agreed on the following highlights:

Allen has now relocated with his family to Lodi, and Thomas Allen is ramping up production of Lodi appellation wines under their new label. After tasting through their current lineup, we agreed on the following highlights:

2017 Albarino $15

Light gold color. Nose has white peach, back notes of pear and melon. Palate has medium acidity, green apple, and zesty citrus. Finishes minerally and clean. 3.5 oinks (the oink scale goes from 1 to 5).

2017 Pinot Grigio $20

Light gold. Nose has hints of tutti frutti or watermelon Jolly Rancher. Palate has low/medium acidity and starts out quite minerally. Then the texture expands in the mid palate with melon and peach flavors. Minerality returns in the finish with citrus notes. An intriguing wine. 4 oinks.

2016 Generations (47% Petit Sirah, 30% Syrah, 23% Tannat) $20

Dark ruby. Nose has dark berries, dry tobacco, with toasty and slight smoky note. Medium minus acid and tannins. Attack has succulent red plum and cranberry. The fruit then turns darker in the dusty mid palate. Toasty finish, with a bit of a peppery bite. 3.5 oinks, close to 4.

2016 Petit Sirah $25

Very dark color. Nose has wafts of red berries, with a high toned note. Medium minus acid with medium grippy tannins. Palate has a mix of red raspberry and dark plum. Intense fruit character carries to the finish, where toasty notes appear. 4 oinks.

2017 Souzão “Port Style” Wine $??

Port style because, as we all know, you can’t call it Port if it’s not from Portugal. Souzão is a traditional Port varietal, and is grown right there on the winery property. This was a barrel sample; release is anticipated in the next few months. The nose was very tight, which is not uncommon for a young port. In the mouth, however, this wine has loads of dark cherry and ripe plum fruit. For a fortified wine at about 18% ABV, there was no obvious heat. Will be a great wine to sip by the fire on a cool winter night. 4 oinks at the present time, might be more with some age.

We were very impressed with the warmth and hospitality of the Thomas Allen staff. Highly suggest you pay them a visit when you are in the area.

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