The Ehlers Family of Lodi proved once again that a winery in Lodi can make great Chardonnay. "Just get the grapes from Monterey." That bit of sage advice was first advanced by Herman Ehlers who founded the family estate over 100 years ago.
Back then you probably couldn't tell Lodi, California from Tombstone, Arizona. It was a stagecoach town in the old west and didn't look much different in the new west. But, Herman saw the potential. Actually, and more accurately, he felt the difference. Towns that were 10 miles to the North or 10 miles to the South had temperatures in the summer that were 10 to 15 degrees higher than Lodi. That's quite a difference to humans, but it's an even greater difference to the vines. He planted the typical grapes of the area, as have the five generations since. It's just that the wines from the Ehlers were more complex, with less alcohol, and more finesse that those of nearby vineyards.
But, Chardonnay is a different matter. Even Lodi wasn't cool enough, so the family hired winemaker, Vance Rose, to tackle the most famous white grape in the world. Vance wasted no time deciding on Monterey, one of the coolest grape growing districts in California. Monterey's rolling hills and proximity to the ocean is one of the most perfect areas in which to grow Chardonnay. Perfect is the word to describe the luscious tropical fruit, spice and creamy texture here to match salmon salad or halibut with tomato concasse.