My #1 hype will always be Acquiesce Vineyards.
I first encountered these wines four years ago, which you can read about here, and then about six months later I wrote a full profile on the winemaker, Sue Tipton, here.
Full disclosure: I used to work for them, but this post and the recommendations herein are independently mine. I went to work for them because I think she makes some of the best white wines I’ve ever tasted. I still think they’re some of the best white wines I’ve ever tasted.
I encourage you to read that profile on Tipton, but the quick version is that she makes nothing but Rhône whites, both single varieties and blends, and one rosé (100% Grenache). They’re all estate-grown–the tasting room sits right next to the vineyards–and all of her wines are certified under the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winemaking. The wines are all dry, all vinified in stainless steel, allowing the bright, clean fruit that’s one of the Lodi AVA’s claims to fame to really shine through, with no malolactic fermentation. They’re whole-cluster pressed, and she literally hand-sorts each cluster herself (I know this because I stood next to her while she did this–I am blown away by the attention and care that goes into these wines).
So, now you know how they’re made, but what do they taste like? I’ve long loved Rhône whites for their richness and complexity, and her wines certainly fit that Rhône profile. Generally speaking, her wines have great fruit flavors that are balanced with pitch-perfect acidity and a beautiful minerality. You’ll find aromas of white flowers and spice on the nose, and they are remarkably food-friendly wines, especially her flagship variety, Grenache Blanc. They’re all 13% (or less) ABV, with no residual sugar.
If you’ve never tried white Rhône wines before, I’ll suggest going with the Grenache Blanc and Grenache Rosé (if you like Provencal-style rosés, you’ll love this). If you’re already a Rhône lover, I’ll point you to her Roussanne and Chateaneuf-du-Pape-inspired blend Belle Blanc. And if you want to impress your friends with things rare and wonderful, she’s one of the only producers in the country who bottles two lesser-known Rhône varieties, Clairette Blanche and Bourboulenc (and a blend including those two called Ingenue). My personal favorites are probably the Viognier and Picpoul Blanc, but hand-to-heart I love them all, which is something I can only say honestly about a handful of producers. The winery website includes thorough tasting notes and pairing suggestions, so you can find detailed info on each of these wines. They’re currently offering a flat-rate shipping special of $15 (and free shipping with a case purchase). Oh, yeah–she also makes a sparkling Grenache Blanc, methode champenoise. She just released her newest vintage, and yes, you should try that, too. It is stellar. Go here to see (and purchase) their available wines. The 2019 vintage in general is shaping up to be outstanding.
I just ordered four bottles! Thought about the wine club (and even wrote to ask a question) but decided we’d better wait a bit on that one. (Just had to purchase a new fridge and oven. Sigh.) So glad you brought this up, Robin!