A Visit To Lodi

GDP reflects on a trip to this unique California region




Peirano represents Lodi on many levels. The fourth bonded winery in Lodi, Peirano traces back its roots to the gold rush of the 1880s, when Lodi was a campsite for the local miners. Giacomo Peirano, fresh from Genoa, Italy, chose the more secure, and probably more lucrative career in commerce as opposed to joining all the fortune seekers. With grape growing in his blood it wasn’t long before he was able to leverage his success catering to the commercial needs of the miners into a 300-acre estate, which was subsequently planted to Zinfandel, one of the region’s first vineyards.


To this day, Old Vine Zinfandel, some from those very vines originally planted by Giacomo, continues to be a mainstay of Periano’s, which remains a family owned property. Originally the vines were planted to produce fruit to be sold, though some wine was always produced by the family. Like many others in the region, Lance Randolph, Periano’s fourth generation steward, took to making wine with the fruit they farmed in order to be better able to sell the fruit on its quality rather than quantity. One success led to another and eventually the winery began to take precedence over the farming, causing the operation to stop selling their prized Zinfandel fruit back in 1999. Today Peirano sells about half the fruit the farm, using the rest to produce some 80,000 cases of wine.


Periano’s wines are produced in a rather easy drinking, soft style, one that has very broad appeal, particularly at the under $15 price point of the wines. These are not fancy wines, but wine for people who drink wines regularly and are looking for something easy and familiar, and not particularly influenced by winemaking. These are fruit-driven wines that in general see a very limited oak influence, spending time in a 50/50 mix of American and French Oak, 10 percent of which is new for the whites, 15 percent for the reds.


2012 Peirano Chardonnay 13.8%


Lightly nutty on the nose with some almond and vanilla wood tones giving this a creamy aroma. A little soft on entry with a touch of RS lending this a particularly creamy mouthfeel supported by good acidity. This is nutty on the palate as well with an almond ice cream accent to the core of apple fruit that is round and simple in a fruity style. The touch of RS is washed away on the finish by the fresh acidity. Not my style but well made. 84pts


2010 Peirano Sauvignon Blanc 13%


Faint green fruit on the nose is joined by hints of of peppery herbs and arugula. This is round and supple in the mouth with decent acids supporting faint fig and green kiwi fruit that shows a touch of herb on the back end. Soft and easy in the mouth with a clean if short finish shows some snap. 84pts


2011 Peirano Viognier 14.8%


Apricot and meaty peach aromas on the nose are framed by nuanced notes of white flowers, fennel, and wood spice. Round and opulent on entry with some power behind the early hints of honey comb that is followed by nice honeysuckle and lychee fruit. This finishes with good length and a touch of astringency highlighting the nice clean, spicy flavors. 86pts


2010 Peirano The Other White Blend, 13.8%

65% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Viognier

Started with the red, a fluke, made so many wines they ended up with lots of open bottles, so Lance just played with them and found that the standard merlot/ cab blend worked well but was missing something, and they finally hit on the splash of syrah that made it complete. 1997 syrah "that's the other one I'm looking for."


Spicy on the nose with lots of raw nut, raw oak, vanilla and ginger aromas topped with a touch of marshmallow. Fresh and bright on entry there is more snap here than one finds with many of the varietal wines. Nicely layered on the palate with citrus lime, green apple and slightly tropical fruit all building to a nice clean finish where the viognier’s floral and honey notes show up. 87pts


2011 Peirano Tempranillo 13.5%


Dusty with a little sweet American oak on the nose, then turning meaty with a touch of old catchers mitt, and some slightly damp earth medicinal notes adding complexity. This is a bit soft and indistinct in the mouth in an open style that shows dusty, faint, dark cherry fruit, leather, carob and a touch of sweet date flavors. Pretty straightforward with a hint of under ripeness to the tannins which does add some length to the finish. This is better on the nose. 83pts


2011 Peirano Malbec 13.8%


Lots of really aromatic tea on the nose, big earl grey aromas that show a slightly sweet orange edge which adds complexity to the core of balsam-edged mulberry fruit. There’s a hint of sweetness on the entry here followed by a lovely layered wild herb, balsam, juniper, and mulberry flavored palate that is supported by ripe soft tannins. This is a very pretty wine, a bit short on the finish but with nice drive to the earthy fruit, all presented in a clean, fresh and easy style. 87pts


2011 Peirano Six Clones Merlot 13.8%


Pretty on the nose if a touch grassy with fresh black currant fruit married to lightly toasty oak. A touch soft on entry with a hint of chewiness to the nice woodsy edge and red berry fruit that shows flashes of raspberry and strawberry under plummy fruit tones. This is very supple in the mouth and fairly complex for this medium weight table wine style, with nice acidity driving the modest finish. A very pretty smaller scaled merlot. 85pts


2011 Peirano Cabernet Sauvignon 13.8%


A little aggressive wood greets the nose with hints of gingery spice under black cherry, black currant fruit all topped with a little sawdust. This is a little sweet on entry, then lots of supporting acidity and a nice tannin base takes control of the palate which features decent complexity, bringing together some dried herb notes and a little sweet carob earthiness embedded in the core of plummy fruit. The moderately long finish is dry, and refreshingly austere. 84pts


2010 Peirano The Other Red 13.8%

50% Cabernet Sauvignon , 40% Merlot, 10% Syrah

A bit earthy on the nose with notes of old wood supporting lots of black currant fruit accented with hints of dried herbs and some peppery spice. This is a soft, big and rich wine with a slightly chewy texture, lots of bright plummy fruit, and a little spiced cherry on the midpalate, all framed by subtle earthy and herbal notes. The finish is a touch austere with tannins that refresh the palate and drive the fairly persistent red cherry and spice notes. 87pts


2009 Peirano The Unknown

70% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Viognier

Coffee, leather, dried beef, dried bay leaf, and black pepper all come together on the salty, jammy plum-laced nose. This is in the soft house style, but with more focus and snap than many of the wines here. Nice raw meat notes with a little hint of truffle greet the palate followed by dark fruit supported by slightly tea-like tannins that lend the mouthfeel a subtle, rustic edge. This is a bit more structured and austere than other Peirano wines, a touch muddled flavorwise, but with a powerful finish which reveals a little honeysuckle and sweet floral spice. 87pts


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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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