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2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA

Borra Vineyards is among the oldest and best wine producers in Lodi. Stephen Borra etablished the winery in 1975 on 30-acre Barbera and Carignane vineyard he purchased from his family in 1966. Borra acquired an additional 200 acres of vineyard in another location in 1992. The winery and tasting room remain at the original vineyard on E. Armstrong Road.

Markus Niggli, a native of the German-speaking part of Switzerland, has been the winemaker at Borra for 6 years. Most of the wines are made from varietals that you expect from Lodi: Zinfandel, Barbera, Syrah, Merlot, etc. Lately though, Niggli has been making some white blends that are unique in the U.S., let alone Lodi. They include the 2011 Intuition White Blend (Kerner, Rieslaner and Gewurtztraminer) and today’s wine of the day, made from Kerner and Riesling.

These German varieties come from the Koth family’s Mokelumne Glen Vineyard. They have specialized in German wine grapes and now have about 41 different varieties. Their Kerner is probably the only planting west of the Mississippi. Niggli is using them to make delicious blends that remind him of those from Switzerland.

The 2011 Artist Series Kerner was bottled relatively soon after fermentation to capture remaining traces of CO2, similar to some Vinho Verde. The wine is nearly water white and a scattering of tiny bubbles cling to the side of the glass. The nose offers crisp, but ripe, green apple, lemon-lime, wet stone and peach. There’s enough sweetness to make it “off-dry” but it’s hardly noticeable on the palate because of the wine’s brisk acidity. Because of that freshness, the wine is simultaneously mouthwatering and drying on the tongue. Flavors echo the nose with green apple, lime and a bit of stone fruit. The finish is long and juicy. This wine should pair well with just about any food you’d have with brut Champagne. It made me want to slurp some oysters. Drink now through 2014. Highly Recommended.

Artist Series labels result from design contests for graphic arts students at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Borra2012ArtistKernerLabel-2002012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA

Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: now through 2014
Bottling Date: January 15, 2013

Closure: Screwcap
Production: less than 200 cases
Retail Price: $18.00

Winemaker: Markus Niggli
Blend: 85% Kerner, 15% Riesling
Origin: Mokelumne Glen Vineyard, Mokelumne River AVA, Lodi
Fermentation: Cold-fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts
Aging: 4 months in stainless steel
Residual sugar: 2.1 g/L
Alcohol: 13.5%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: Not recommended

Temperature: 46º - 50º F

Food Pairings: seafood, salads, chicken

The wine above was tasted with the winemaker.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.