Monday, April 29, 2013

Sorelle Winery – An Italian Winery in the Lodi Wine Country

Located in the south eastern side of the Lodi Wine Country is one of the most beautiful wineries in the region - Sorelle Winery. The history of the property dates back to 1776 when it was fishing grounds for the local Miwok Indians. Later settlers migrated to the area in 1825 who were attracted by the abundance of wild grapes.  Today two plaques in front of the estate landmark the spot that was used as a campsite on March 26, 1844, by General John C. Fremont and his expedition scout Christopher “Kit” Carson.

The property was then purchased by Jonathon Holt Dodge in 1857 who then built his home on the property in 1866. Dodge was a native of Vermont living in Illinois when the news of the California Gold Rush broke out at which time he headed west to Sacramento. Despite all his efforts, gold prospecting was not profitable but rather than return back east he began to farm in the San Joaquin Valley. There he grew grains, raised thoroughbred horses, cattle and sheep. He then planted a vineyard in collaboration with George West, a viticulturist and founder of the El Pinal Winery. During that time Jonathon Dodge married and helped build the one-room Calaveras School in 1866, and that same year constructed the home that has been preserved on the estate.[1]

More than a century later, the estate was purchased by Mike and Joanne Scott in August of 2007. Mike made his money as the owner of an industrial supply company that provided materials for the wind-turbine industry. Then in honor of Jonathon Dodge’s two daughters and their own two daughters, Kim and Melissa, Mike and Joanne established Sorelle Winery (“Sorelle” means “sisters” in Italian). They then built a winemaking facility with a barrel room and adjoining tasting room in keeping with the architecture of the historic home. The winery was finished with thick Douglas-fir shelves from a century-old warehouse in downtown Stockton and a large window separating tasting room from cellar also comes from the warehouse.
The Sorelle Winery winemaking team was then joined by Chad Joseph, a consultant for several wineries in Lodi. In keeping with the family’s Italian heritage they focus on producing about 2,000 cases Italian varietal wine such as Pinot Grigio, Primativo as well estate Sangiovese and Barbera that surround the home and winery. 

While visiting I sampled the following wines:

The first pour was the 2012 Pinot Grigio. This wine is very clear, almost water-white. On the nose it displays aromas of peach, apricot, lemon-lime and a hint of wet stone. On the palate it is light bodied (medium-), very crisp (medium+), with a medium+ length finish. This was the perfect wine for a hot day as it was 90 degrees that day! This was my favorite in the line-up and I brought a bottle home for $16.

The second sample was the 2012 Rosato (Rosé) made from 50% Barbera and 50% Sangiovese. On the nose it has subtle aromas of strawberries and cranberries, on the palate it is light bodied, crisp with medium + acidity and a medium- length finish. It is a fairly simple wine that sells for $16 a bottle.

The third wine and first red was the 2010 Estate Barbera. This wine has explosive aromatics with pronounced aromas of fresh blueberries and a hint of smoky bacon fat. On the palate it is medium bodied with refined tannins, mouth-watering acidity (medium +) and a hint of bramble bush on the finish. This was my second favorite wine in the line-up. It sells for $25 a bottle.

The fourth wine was the 2010 Estate Sangiovese. This wine is ruby red with subtle aromas of cherries and strawberries. On the palate it has medium acidity, medium body and a short finish. I don’t think I have ever said this before, but I think this wine may actually need more oak. This wine sells for $23 a bottle.

The fifth sample was the 2010 Primitivo. This Italian Zinfandel displays aromas of raspberries, blackberries and a hint of dried herbs. On the palate it is has a silky texture with refined tannins, it is medium body and acidity, and it has a lingering peppery finish. This wine sells for $22 a bottle.

The final sample was the 2012 Muscat Canelli. On the nose this wine displays vibrant aromas of canned peaches, mandarin oranges and pears. This wine has a touch of sweetness with 3% residual sugar yet it maintains refreshing acidity so it isn’t quite a dessert wine and it would pair well with spicy dishes. It has a medium length finish and is an enjoyable wine on a hot Spring day. This wine sells for $18 a bottle.

To see more pictures of the Sorrelle Winery, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:

To visit or for more information:

Sorelle Winery
9599 N Hwy 88
Stockton, CA 95212
Phone: 1-209-931-4350

[1] In 1976 the Calaveras School was moved to Micke Grove Regional Park in Stockton.