A journey that began in 1992 when Markus and Liz Bokisch moved to Spain is scheduled to make a very important stopover on February 29 with the release of their 2014 Tizona by Bokisch Gran Reserva Tempranillo, which we received as a tasting sample. This is a project that has been years in the making. The 36 months spent aging in French oak puncheons followed by bottling in 2017 and 24 months of bottle aging are just the final part of the story.
During the years that Liz and Markus lived in and traveled around Spain they fell in love with not only with Spanish food but with the wines as well. Their dream became to make Spanish-inspired wines in California’s Lodi wine region.
The Terra Alta Vineyard is the first piece of land Liz and Markus purchased and developed as a vineyard. It is located in the rolling hills of Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA. This organically-certified (CCOF) vineyard, which is also Certified Green by LODI RULES™ for Sustainable Winegrowing Practices, was planted between 1996 and 1998 to Spanish and French varieties and is home to the Bokisch Vineyards winemaking facility and tasting room.
In 1998 they purchased property that would become their home as well as the 3-acre Las Cerezas Vineyard. The vineyard, which is Certified Green by LODI RULES™ for Sustainable Winegrowing Practices and Certified Organic by CCOF, is planted to Graciano, Tempranillo and Albariño that Markus brought from Spain as budwood. They lovingly call this vineyard the Motherblock.
Their Liberty Oaks Vineyard was planted a few years after the Las Cerezas Vineyard using Tempranillo cuttings from the Motherblock. Ribera del Duero is the source of that Tempranillo budwood. The Liberty Oaks Vineyard is Certified Green by LODI RULES™ for Sustainable Winegrowing Practices.
Tempranillo for the Tizona Gran Reserva Tempranillo is sourced from the Las Cerezas and Liberty Oaks Vineyards. According to winemaking notes the Las Cerezas site, planted in silty sandy loam, lends tannic structure and the Liberty Oakes site, planted in volcanic clay loam, provides rich fruit flavor.
2014 Tizona by Bokisch Gran Reserva Tempranillo, Lodi — medium ruby in the glass with generous aromas of red and dark fruit with background notes of leafy tobacco and vanilla. Dark fruit flavors predominate along with red fruit, leather, vanilla and tobacco. Tannins are drying. This wine is pulled together and balanced. 14.5% abv. SRP $60. Only 300 cases made.
The combination of red and dark fruit is juicy and appealing with interesting background notes of leather and tobacco. It is complex and elegant at the same time and is even more delicious on day two.
The Gran Reserva wines of Rioja inspired this wine. Markus and Liz were influenced by the extended aging requirements in barrel and in bottle when crafting their Gran Reserva Tempranillo. Together with winemaker, Elyse Perry, Markus and Liz have created a wine that brings a taste of Spain to Lodi.
While this wine is delicious sipping on its own, it really comes alive with food. Lamb is a natural pairing with Tempranillo in my book, so we took advantage of a recent warm afternoon to grill lamb chops outdoors. The smoky, charred lamb chops paired beautifully with the deep fruit flavors of the Tempranillo and smoothed the drying tannins. What a delicious pairing.
This Saturday, February 29, 2020 Liz and Marcus will present their Tizona Gran Reserva Tempranillo to the public at their winery on N. Atkins Road in Lodi. Come taste this special wine along with Spanish tapas and a library tasting of Bokisch Tempranillo. There will be music and the weather promises to be lovely. Details are on the winery website.