The 2020 McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel is a dark purple wine, loaded with notes of ripe red currant, strawberry, caramelized sugar, and toasty oak. The savory red fruit on the palate leads to soft, supple tannins and a smooth finish.
The McManis family has been farming in the northern interior region of California since 1938. Fourth generation farmer Ron McManis, and his wife Jamie, founded McManis Family Vineyards in 1990. From the beginning, their mission was simple: every bottle of McManis Family Vineyards should consist of “quality wine at an honest price”. They now farm over 3,600 acres of premium wine grapes from premier growing areas across the state. In 1998, the company designed and built a state-of-the-art winery to produce a range of red and white varietals sourced from ten estate vineyards. All 10 delicious varietals are certified sustainable under Lodi Rules standards and the winery itself is certified under California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. McManis is also the keeper of the third smallest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in California. Nestled between the cool confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers, south of Lodi, the River Junction Appellation comprises 1300 acres. The land near the river basin is consistently 2-5 degrees cooler than the surrounding farmlands, combined with the sandy loam soils unique to the area, is ideally suited to growing premium quality grapes. This geographical advantage also provides a more significant diurnal temperature swing – warm days, cooler nights than other vineyards. McManis Family Vineyards grows Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Viognier and Muscat Canelli in the AVA. McManis Family Vineyards produces its high quality wines using small winery methods. Considered “petite” compared to the size of other facilities in the area, the winery is designed for small lot wine production. As grapes arrive at the winery, they are introduced to two state-of-the-art grape receiving stations outfitted with Delta Stemmer and Bucher presses; the receiving hoppers are equipped with mechanisms designed to slow the intake of grapes, gently handling the incoming fruit. The majority of the tanks are designed to ferment approximately 9,000 gallons of red wine each, and there are several smaller tanks available for blending and fermenting. These innovative methods of winemaking are unique to a winery of this production capacity and produce excellent finished wines meant to be enjoyed when young, with juicy flavors, freshness and balance.
Positioned between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Lodi appellation, while relatively far inland, is able to maintain a classic Mediterranean climate featuring warm, sunny days and cool evenings. This is because the appellation is uniquely situated at the end of the Sacramento River Delta, which brings chilly, afternoon “delta breezes” to the area during the growing season.
Lodi is a premier source of 100+ year old ancient Zinfandel vineyards—some dating back as far as 1888! With low yields of small berries, these heritage vines produce complex and bold wines, concentrated in rich and voluptuous, dark fruit.
But Lodi doesn’t just produce Zinfandel; in fact, the appellation produces high quality wines from over 100 different grape varieties. Among them are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc as well as some of California's more rare and unique grapes. Lodi is recognized as an ideal spot for growing Spanish varieties like Albarino and Tempranillo, Portugese varieties—namely Touriga Nacional—as well as many German, Italian and French varieties.
Soil types vary widely among Lodi’s seven sub-appellations (Cosumnes River, Alta Mesa, Deer Creek Hills, Borden Ranch, Jahant, Clements Hills and Mokelumne River). The eastern hills are clay-based and rocky and in the west, along the Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers, sandy and mineral-heavy soils support the majority of Lodi’s century-old own-rooted Zinfandel vineyards. Unique to Lodi are pink Rocklin-Jahant loam soils, mainly found in the Jahant sub-appellation.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel has secured it’s title as the darling of California vintners by adapting well to the states’ diverse microclimates and landscapes. Born in Croatia, it later made its way to southern Italy where it was named Primitivo. Fortunately, the imperial nursery of Vienna catalogued specimens of the vine, which sourced a journey to New England in 1829. Parading the true American spirit, Zinfandel found a new home in California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Somm Secret—California's ancient vines of Zinfandel are those that survived the neglect of Prohibition; today these vines produce the most concentrated, ethereal and complex examples.