Allen Lombardi started out as a home winemaker in the late 1990s. A lot of people were making wine at home then, especially Californians, who were close to the source. Most of them did not go commercial, but many, like Lombardi did.
He now runs his winery in the Lodi area with his family, though our selection came from the cooler Central Coast. Lodi is one of the earliest appellations to plant grapes in California, beginning in 1850. Many farmers were at the port when Augustin Haraszthy returned from his historic journey to gather grape cuttings from all over the finest vineyards in Europe.
That single act is considered the spark that ignited the California wine boom almost at the same time as the Gold Rush. California was the topic of the day, month and year. This fact was not lost on Lombardi as he planted many vines that were handed down for over a century from Haraszthy's adventure. However, he also knew that his favorite grape, Pinot Noir, would be a challenge here, so he looked to the cooler vineyards in the Central Coast.
Pinot Noir means "black pine cone" in French. It is so named because it is black in skin color and the clusters resemble a pine cone. But its intrinsic aromas and flavors are what sets it apart from all others. Beginning with the fragrant aromas of coffee and the flecks of caramel, juicy cranberry and plum, this selection delights at every turn. The finish is astounding and begs for a creamy risotto or roasted pork loin.