At Christopher Cellars, we are thrilled to share the exciting news that all five of our entered wines have not only stood their ground but have emerged triumphant at the prestigious 2024 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. This annual event, featuring over 5,500 wines from nearly 1,000 wineries, is a testament to the fierce competition and high standards within the industry. Let's raise a glass to a clean sweep!
“Best of Class” Winner! Introducing the 2022 Grand Cuvée ($30.00), our latest blend that masterfully combines Carignan from Mule Plane Vineyard, Cinsault from Sprague Family Vineyard, and Zinfandel from Stampede Vineyard – three renowned Lodi vineyards celebrated for exceptional quality. This unique blend captures the essence of Lodi, going beyond a mere combination of grapes to represent the region itself. Carignan brings refreshing acidity, Zinfandel contributes robust structure and rich mouthfeel, and Cinsault adds enchanting perfume. Recognized as "Best of Class" in this prestigious wine competition, The Grand Cuvée invites a sensorial journey into Lodi's heart, showcasing its distinctive features with layers of fruit, velvety texture, and captivating aromatics. Each component is explored, highlighting the legacy of Mule Plane Vineyard, the purity of Sprague Family Vineyard, and the unique expression of Zinfandel from Stampede Vineyard. The Grand Cuvée is not just a wine; it's a celebration of Lodi's viticultural heritage and the artistry of Christopher in crafting a blend that truly captures the essence of this exceptional winegrowing region.
Earning the prestigious "Double Gold" designation is our fourth vintage, the Chardonnay ($32.00), Lodi AVA. A labor of love, this wine is aged in an innovative blend of 30% stainless steel tank, 40% neutral French oak, and 30% new French oak, achieving a sublime balance and finesse. Harvested at three distinct pick points in the vineyard, the meticulous approach results in a captivating and nuanced expression of our Chardonnay.
Our 2021 Carignan ($38.00) from the Mule Plane Vineyard has secured the prestigious "Gold" award, a testament to its exceptional quality. This historical vineyard cated in the Mokelumne River AVA. Mule Plane Vineyard is managed by John Shinn and boasts own-rooted Carignan vines dating back to the late 1920s. Certified as Lodi Rules Sustainable, the vineyard benefits from a mild Mediterranean climate and optimal exposure to delta breezes. Unfortunately, this wine is now sold out, highlighting the demand for our outstanding offerings. We will be bottling the 2022 Vintage Febraury 13th 2024. Be on the look out during the 2024 Thanksgiving wine release.
We proudly add two more Silver awards to our collection. The 2022 Zinfandel Cuvée ($28.00) and the 2022 Duet Blend ($35.00), both from the Lodi Appellation, showcase the diversity and skill embedded in our winemaking process.
We will be featuring these wines at the San Franisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting. This event will take place at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, on Feb 17th 2024 from 1:30-4:30pm. Tickets available here.
Vineyard Spotlight - Nestled amidst the captivating landscapes of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA, the Cherryhouse Vineyard stands as a meticulously tended terroir, weaving a vibrant tapestry for Zinfandel enthusiasts. Crafted with passion by brothers Jeff and John Perlegos, this viticultural gem transforms its terrain into a sanctuary for head-trained vines, firmly rooted in the sandy loam below. Beyond its meticulous management, Cherryhouse distinguishes itself with the intriguing character it bestows upon its Zinfandel. Clusters resembling tight grenades, each cradling small berries, promise an abundance of flavor—a visual and gustatory spectacle that consistently excites us. Dating back to the 1970s, Cherryhouse has witnessed the evolution of winemaking, recently embracing organic farming, a commitment that speaks to the Perlegos brothers' dedication and contributes to the overall uniqueness of their wines.
Vintage Highlights - In the winegrowing region of Lodi Appellation, the 2022 vintage unfolded amid nearly ideal conditions, marked by abundant early-season rains and superb spring and summer weather. However, an unexpected, record-breaking frost in mid-spring significantly reduced crop sizes. Challenges persisted with a Labor Day heat event, bringing unprecedented high temperatures. Despite these adversities, the 2022 wines are anticipated to exhibit heightened concentration and power compared to the previous vintage, influenced by both the spring frost and the Labor Day heatwave. Despite the twists and turns of the year, consumers can still eagerly anticipate savoring exceptional wines from the 2022 vintage.
Winemaking Insights - The 2022 vintage presented challenges due to Labor Day heatwaves. Balancing the desire for phenological maturity without overripeness was crucial. The resilience of old vines in handling nature's curveballs proved remarkable. This Zinfandel was harvested at 23.5 brix, with a two-day cold soak boosting it to 24.5 brix. Native fermentation was initiated after warming up the must. Employing a novel winemaking technique, delestage, proved instrumental. This involved aggressively emptying the liquid part of the must from the fermentation tank and then pumping it back over the solid remnants, enhancing the extraction of anthocyanins and polyphenols. Christopher attributes the mouthfeel and richness of the wine to this technique.
Tasting Experience - The 2022 vintage from Cherryhouse continues the legacy, offering a fragrance that echoes the essence of cherries and berries with a nuanced twist. Darker berry tones, reminiscent of black cherries, dance on the nose, complemented by subtle hints of organic earthiness. As the wine graces the palate, these earthy notes gain strength, adding layers of complexity to the overall tasting experience. Savoring a Zinfandel that intricately reflects its terroir is undeniably charming, and Cherryhouse effortlessly delivers on that promise. The 2022 vintage stands as a testament to the Perlegos brothers' unwavering commitment to their craft and the land they cultivate.
Tasting Notes - The 2022 Zinfandel grown from Cherryhouse Vineyard entices with a seductive array of aromatics, weaving together black plum, black cherry, fresh cracked pepper, and delicate floral notes. On the palate, a luscious symphony unfolds, introducing a hint of vanilla, juicy blackberries, black currant, and the mineral essence of river rock. The wine's sophistication shines through with a bright and fresh finish, subtly tannic, leaving a lasting impression.
Coming Soon- Release Date: February 24, 2024
Wine Club Member Exclusive: With only four barrels produced, wine club members are invited to the tasting room to Join us at the tasting room for an exclusive preview, where you will be the first to enjoy the subtle nuances of this exceptional wine before it is officially released.
Are you ready to experience a new sensation in the wine industry? Get ready to be blown away by the unique flavors and aromas of Cinsault - a grape variety with a rich history in the Southern Rhône region of France. Now, this exceptional grape has found a new home in the Lodi AVA of California and is taking the wine industry by storm.
At Christopher Cellars, we are excited to announce the release of our new Cinsault Sprague Family Vineyard on March 4th, 2022, priced at $30.00. Our winemakers have produced a wine that reflects its sense of place, with bright acidity and smooth tannins. It underwent mixed fermentation of whole berry and whole cluster fermentation, and was aged in neutral French oak barrels for three months before bottling in January.
Cinsault is a versatile grape variety that pairs perfectly with lighter dishes such as roasted chicken, grilled fish, and pasta with tomato-based sauces. It's a grape that can add complexity and depth to wine blends or can be enjoyed as a varietal wine, showcasing its unique characteristics. With its ability to thrive in the hot and dry climate of Lodi and its resistance to disease and pests, it's no wonder that Cinsault is becoming increasingly popular among winemakers in the region.
Whether you're a wine connoisseur or just starting your wine journey, you won't want to miss out on the opportunity to try the exciting new Cinsault wines from Lodi. Come to Christopher Cellars and experience the magic of this exceptional grape variety. Order your bottle today and join us in celebrating the release of our new Cinsault Sprague Family Vineyard.``