Recent Blog Articles
- NorCal Wine Has Moved
- 'Tis the Season to be Zinful
- New Tasting Rooms & a Grand Opening in Lodi
- How You Can Contribute to Earthquake Relief in Napa
- A Tale of Two Conferences
- Cats and Dogs Blogging Together
- Getting the Wine Bloggers Conference We Deserve
- New White Wines and Rosés from Rutherford's Day in the Dust
- 6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers
- Lodi Zinfandel Goes Native
- Study: Researchers Discover New Taste
- He Wasn't Talking To You, Mr. Outrage
- 16 North Coast Rhones to Try and a Toothsome #WineChat
- Howell Mountain Spring Tasting Wrap Up
- Of Tasting Notes and Photographs
- Rhone Rangers Tastings and Rhone-Variety Wines Tasted
- More Thoughts on Blind vs. Non-Blind Tasting
- A Great Tasting on Balance
- How Critics Taste Wines - On Blind Tasting
- On "Unexpected Napa Valley Wines"
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado
- 2012 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
NorCal Wine Blog
Wine Quiz: Which Grape Originally Defined the Mokelumne River AVA in Lodi?
- General Interest
- Written by Fred Swan
- Wednesday, 25 April 2012 01:58
The Mokelumne River AVA was approved in 1992, along with the other six AVAs nested within the larger Lodi AVA. However, the Mokelumne River growing region’s boundaries were first drawn out on a napkin by Julio Gallo decades prior. He and others believed that area best in the state for growing a particular grape.
Which grape defined what is now the Mokelumne River AVA?
- Petite Sirah
- Flame Tokay
Flame Tokay, a seeded, vitis vinifera table grape, grows better in the Mokelumne River AVA than anywhere else in the state. The grape may be delicious when grown elsewhere. However, its skin only in the area now known as the Mokelumne River AVA does it develop the distinctive bright pink “flame” color for which it is named.
The Mokelumne River AVA surrounds the town of Lodi. It’s climate is reasonably similar to that of its neighboring AVAs: Mediterranean with warm to hot days cooled dramatically be evening breezes from the Delta. However, the soil of Mokelumne River is very distinctive and has even taken its name from the Flame Tokay grape. The deep, extremely sandy and well-drained is called Tokay Sandy Loam.
That soil has proved to be good for more than just Flame Tokay though. Zinfandel does especially well in the Tokay Sandy Loam. Sand, which does not hold water, is also very resistant to Phylloxera. As a result, the Mokelumne River AVA is home to vast quantities of very old vines, including Zinfandel, Carignane, Cinsault and even some original plantings of Mission.
Greg Burns, proprietor-winemaker at Jessie's Grove stands next to one of his massive, ancient Flame Tokay vines in April, 2012.
Much of Lodi’s Flame Tokay was pulled up after seedless table grapes, such as Thompson, became hugely popular in the 1970’s. However, fields of the Flame Tokay can still be found here and there, some long-abandoned and growing wild.
The most lovingly tended old-vine Flame Tokay is probably that in the historic Royal Tee vineyard at Jessie’s Grove Winery. The grapes are now used to produce a lovely fortified wine. Gentle and light-bodied for a fortified wine, the 2009 Jessie’s Grove Ancient Vine Tokay smells and tastes of toasted marshmallow.
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook.
This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Photos by Fred Swan. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.