Bokisch Vineyards: Bringing Spanish wine to Lodi

Bokisch Vineyards Wines
The diversity of types and styles of wine in Lodi is quite evident when you sample the wines of Bokisch Vineyards. With a bent on Spanish varietals, Markus and Liz Bokisch are one of the largest Spanish wine growers in the United States. Visiting the vineyard and tasting the wine, it became very obvious that the Bokisch’s love Spain and anything Spanish.

Liz and Markus Bokisch
Liz and Markus Bokisch

Purchasing their Terra Alta vineyard in the Clements Hills in 1995, the Bokisch’s began by planting Albarino, Tempranillo, and Graciano in 1999. Their first Spanish vintage was in 2001. They currently cultivate grapes on about 2600 acres. Today, Bokisch Vineyards has a women winemaker, Elyse Perr and they make nine different wines including Garnacha, Garnacha Blanca, Monastrell, Verdejo, and Verdelho.

My first encounter with the Bokisch wines was in 2017 at a Wine LA tasting event in Los Angeles. Here I sampled the Graciano and Tempranillo. Tasting both, you would not know these wines were produced in the Lodi because their character resembles those of Spain. In fact, Bokisch has established a Crianza program.

Bokisch Vineyards and Tasting Room

Last year I visited Bokisch Vineyards and tasting room. Although, the Bokisch’s own several vineyards, when visiting the winery it is easy to see the difference between their vineyards and other portions of Lodi. The Terra Alta Vineyard sits on rolling hills and offers a wonderful view of Lodi.

At the vineyard, I sampled the 2015 Verdejo, a bright wine with flavors of fresh citrus and nuts. I also tasted the Garnacha, which was balanced with soft textures and a spicy finish.

While visiting the tasting room, Liz suggested I purchase both the Verdejo and the Verdelho and make my own comparison. After recently attending another Lodi wine tasting in Los Angeles where I sample the Bokisch 2016 Verdelho, I decided it was time to open the two bottles I had purchased and do a side-by-side evaluation.

Bokisch Vineyards Verdejo and Verdelho
Bokisch Vineyards Verdejo and Verdelho

Bokisch Vineyards Verdejo and Verdelho

Comparing the 2015 Bokisch Verdejo to the same year in the Verdelho, here is what I discovered. The Verdejo from Clay Station Vineyard in the Borden Ranch Appellation was more subtle delivering flavors of pineapple, green apple, and stone fruit. The wine presented itself with a viscous quality. I found the wine sophisticated especially for a white wine. The Verdelho, Vista Luna Vineyard also revealed flavors of pineapple, but this wine exhibited a spicy finish and seemed to have more acidity and minerality.

Although both wines were excellent, my preference was the Verdejo with it softer more subtle demeanor. If you are a lover of Spanish varietals, you must discover the wines of Bokisch Vineyards.

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer was hosted to some of the wines sampled. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.