Ron Silva, owner/grape grower/winemaker, has been dubbed Lodi's Portuguese grape king by Lodi Wine Country blog. I paid him a visit after he caught my eye (or should I say palate) at the TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society) tasting at Fort Mason, San Francisco. There were more locally produced Tempranillos than I realized, and they were mostly nothing like those I was used to tasting from Rioja. Hardly any, except Alta Mesa Cellars...
Alta Mesa is an AVA (American Viticultural Area) located within the Lodi AVA, distinguished by the red clay/volcanic soil. Located just off Highway 99, halfway between Lodi & Stockton, it's an easy drive to the middle of nowhere. Primarily a grower, Ron Silva has been obsessed with growing obscure Portuguese varieties for the last 15 years. His vineyards supply grapes to at least six other local wineries, and that list is sure to grow. He keeps a small amount of fruit for himself, primarily to show off to other wineries what these grapes can do.
The Secret Wine Shop is the San Francisco urban tasting room for this scant, rare, low-alcohol, food-friendly locally grown & produced Portuguese wine produced under the Alta Mesa Cellars label. We have in stock his
To get you in the mood, here's a video about the grapes, (edited out the compost which is mostly horse rather than cow manure), and the owl nests.