A Visit To Lodi

GDP reflects on a trip to this unique California region


Harney Lane


Unlike many properties in Lodi, Harney Lane is an estate winery with vineyards planted on a homestead that reaches back five generations. In fact, grape growing here reaches back through four of those five generations and served as the catalyst for the family’s entry into the winemaking business.


As grape farmers, on 100 of their own acres and 400 that are leased, the Mettlers, along with Kyle Lerner who married into the family, were rightly proud of the grapes they produced, though with no one to showcase the quality of the wines that could be produced with that fruit they were somewhat at a disadvantage. To remedy that, the family started “goofing around” with winemaking before moving into the actual winery business in 2006, with the goal to make wines that could serve as a marketing tool highlighting the quality Lodi was capable of. On a personal level the family was also curious about the wines made with their fruit since up to this time they had sold and shipped off the fruit, rarely being able to taste the finished products winemakers were producing with said fruit.


After only seven vintages, and with the help of winemaker Chad Joseph, Harney Lane has established a reputation for producing some of the region’s top wines. True to their origins these tend to be quite rich wines, though the Chardonnay in particular shows impressive restraint. Even with all the power conferred to the wine by Lodi’s terroir, there is still a sense of elegance to the top wines here.


2011 Harney Lane Albarino Lodi 13.5%


Dusty and sweetly fruited on the nose with a little tropical guava accenting the peach fruit. This shows a little early richness that is followed by nice acidity lending this some cut on the palate. Rich with lovely lemony fruit and a slight dusty astringency on the back end, this combines fine clarity on the palate with a measure of richness and good length. 88pts


2011 Harney Lane Chardonnay 14.5%

BF, 30% new FO 9 months in barrel

Almond and leesy with soft barrel fermented aromas on the nose that are followed by peach, quince and vanilla notes all wrapped up with hints of smoky nuts, butchers wax and lemon pith. This greets the palate with a soft touch and nice tart citrus flavors that are clean and creamy on the palate, and very well-balanced and elegant. This exhibits good length and fine persistence of fruit on the finish. Subtle and elegant in the mouth with a nice touch of mineral on the back end offering nuanced complexity, this is a complete package. 90pts


2011 Harney Lane Dry Rose 13.5%

Bf, little lees contact, Zinfandel, Tempranillo and Petite Sirah


Dry on the nose with red fruit that shows a slight baked edge and a nice bit of apricot lift. This has nice bright fruit on entry, a bit earthy and bronze, polished and supple with a little spice on the back end and a shadow of sweetness to the back end before showing mineral and a little white pepper spice on the modest finish, a little spicy black fruit, some strawberry tones, refreshing. 86pts


2010 Harney Lane Lodi Zinfandel 15.5%

100% American oak,Two blocks, one old vine and a young, 15 year old 

Black fruit, cola, and spice all come together with freshness on the deep, complex nose that shows off some lovely spicy highlights. Very pretty nose. This opens beautifully with rich, candied blackberry fruit, and flavors that are powerful but with great focus. A decidedly big wine but one that is very well-balanced, with excellent purity of fruit, and a fairly long finish offering vibrant briary blackberry fruit with nice firm little tannins that add a touch of austerity creating great textural vibrancy on the finish. 90pts


2010 Harney Lane Lizzy James Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel 15.9%

In barrel for 20 to 24 months, 1/2 ton bins for micro ferments, hand punch downs three or four times per day

Vanilla and spice pop on the bright nose here that shows really fine balance of fruit and spice with a little licorice and carob, followed by lots of bramble and a hint of heat. Broad and very clear on the palate with lovely depth of fruit, a hint of sweetness, and big briar, bramble and spice notes that turn jammy on the moderate length finish. 92pts


2010 Harney Lane Tempranillo 15%


Tobacco, spice and well-judged oak come together on the nose along with dark raspberry fruit. The earthy spice is obvious on entry along with nice acids that lend good clarity to the core of raspberry fruit. This does show a hint of sweetness, buffering fine chalky tannins, all creating a nice if rustic textural package. A touch minty on the back end, this shows fairly tannic through the finale. 87pts


2010 Harney Lane Petite Sirah 15.5%


Dark and inky on the nose which is full of powerful tree bark, spice and peppery aromas.  A touch soft in the mouth with a broad, chewy, expansive mouthfeel packed with muscular black fruit. This is chewy but not heavy, and it finishes with length and power with lots of coffee bean and spice-framed wild blueberry and blackberry fruit. 92pts


NV Harney Lane but actually 2010 Zinfandel port 17.9%


This is spicy on the nose and while it does show some alcohol it’s rich with aromas of dark dried fruits and dark chocolate. Moderately sweet on the palate, this shows a little spice, and chocolate accenting the core of fresh fruit with good clarity. A big burst of spicy fruit on the back end reveals a light oxidative note which turns into a little nut browned in butter note on the moderately long finish. 88pts



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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: dogears
    156430 1

    Are these reviews generated by random wine words? soft and straight forward both (chose one)? 'Slightly damp'? 'hint of old catcher's mitt'? Drivel that is nearly completely without meaning.

    Jun 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

  • Snooth User: Jonar
    156583 127

    Newsflash, Gregory Del Piaz (Snooth) visits Heritage Oak Winery! Success! Now he needs to try Jessie's Grove as well.

    Jun 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

  • Snooth User: Jonar
    156583 127

    Oh well, just got to the review, I only would drink 1 of the 4 sampled (Zin).

    Jun 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM

  • Snooth User: JaimeJ
    1294952 21

    Some posibility to taste those wines for a sapnish wine writer?

    Jun 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

  • Snooth User: Jonar
    156583 127

    Sapnish? JaimeJ: I assume you are a writer from Spain and not Sapnish. Most of the excellent Lodi wines are only available in Lodi. If you do try Heritage Oak, please make sure to sample all of their reds; Tom, the owner is great. I also enjoy Jessie's Grove in Lodi (again the reds). My favorite Heritage Oak is "Vino Tinto", (at our wedding reception) and then the pricier reds as well.
    As Greg mentions, Michael David is a larger, more popular Lodi winery (and in many stores/many states) with multiple brands. The one that I recommend from Michael David is the $36 Inkblot Cab Franc (rare to find a Cab Franc that I like).

    Jun 10, 2013 at 8:15 PM

  • Snooth User: Kiwi Koala
    1116094 49

    Had a great taste with nice people http://www.winewalkabout.net/2012/1...


    Jun 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM

  • Sorelle means sisters in Italian. Wonder where the vintner gets the name?

    Jun 11, 2013 at 6:29 AM

  • Snooth User: Jon Bjork
    535696 15

    The name Sorelle comes from owner Mike Scott's two daughters, who work at the winery and tasting room.

    Jun 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM

  • Because they are sisters. Thank you.

    Jun 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

  • Great article, I've been curious about Lodi for awhile and have heard some of these names. I can't wait to try them for myself. Fortunately I'm conveniently located central to Lodi, Napa, Lake County and Amador!

    Jan 07, 2014 at 2:57 AM

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