Bokisch Vineyards has been on my radar for a few years now. So when my friend Allison told me that they were on the agenda to visit last May, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, then it looked like they could not fit us into their schedule (it was Mother’s Day weekend!) before we headed to the second leg of this trip, Sonoma. At which point Markus and Liz Bokisch (co-owners) invited us to their home Monday morning for a breakfast wine tasting before we head to Sonoma. A “breakfast wine tasting?” Why not! So sure enough, at 8:30 am, we arrived at their beautiful home to sample some of the killer and affordable wines from the Bokisch Vineyards lineup.
Save The Date:
I will be hosting a tasting of some of Bokisch Vineyards wines on October 7, 2021. If you would like an invite, be sure to sign up on our Private, In-person Wine Tasting email list at the top of the right panel of this page. If you are not in Charleston, sign up to attend via Zoom by signing up on our Virtual Wine Tasting email list.
Bokisch Vineyards – How it all Started
Markus Bokisch came to the USA when he was two years old when his Immunologist German father and his Spanish mother moved here for a job in California. Although they intended to return to Germany, they never left. Fast forward to…
Markus and Liz met at UC Davis, where they were students. While friends the entire time, they became a couple during their senior year. As graduation approached, Markus already had a job to go into the Peace Corps in Guatemala. And Liz had a job teaching English in Madrid, Spain. But they put that on hold to see if this relationship was going to work. They settled in Napa because it was so close to UC Davis and everything they knew as a couple. In addition, Markus could explore his interest in growing grapes.
Markus landed a job at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. He didn’t really appreciate what an incredible winery that was until he stepped through their door. And Liz got a job at Napa’s high school. And that is how they ended up in the vineyard management and wine industry. But Liz and Markus also promised themselves that they would only stay in Napa for two to three years.
Bokisch Vineyards – The Big Move
So in August of 1992, after they saved enough money, they bought a one-way ticket to Europe. Additionally, they shipped their 1967 refurbished, split-window Volkswagen bus (which they still own) to travel to many of the major wine regions across the continent and ultimately relocate to the Catalan region of his mother’s family. Markus worked as a consultant in the wine industry, and Liz taught English.
They came home when they ran out of money. In 1995 Marcus and Liz bought their first piece of land, which they began planting to vine in 1996. It is now the Terra Alta Vineyard. Vineyard number two came in 1999, and they made their first wines in 2000. Originally they were all Spanish varieties because the land most closely matched Spanish wine-growing regions they loved.
They now make 25 different wines under the Bokisch Vineyards and Tizona by Bokisch labels. Bokisch Vineyards are all Spanish variety wines, and Tizona produces international variety wines like Malbec, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Carignan, and Reserva and Gran Reserva Spanish wines.
The prices for these wines are insanely affordable and drink way above their price point. QPR (quality to price ratio) is off the charts.
Their Sparkling Albariño is $36.00. The white wines sell in the $23.00 to $25.00 range. Two rosados at $20.00 and $25.00. And the reds sell in the $27.00 to $34.00 range. The outlier is the 2014 Tizona Gran Reserva Tempranillo which sells for $60.00 but even that is a great value for what you get to drink.
Breakfast at Bokisch
In the image below are bottle shots of the three different single vineyard Albariño wines that they make. Each has a distinctly unique flavor profile. Gary and I are huge Albariño fans, and we could not get enough of these.
After we each got a sip of one of the Albariños, we took a walk to Las Cerezas Vineyard, which is part of the property that Markus and Liz call home. This organic vineyard is the “Motherblock” for the Bokisch Spanish varieties. It is also where the first Graciano vines were planted outside of Europe.
Clearly, we are missing someone at the table. That must be why Markus and I are not eating this delicious food that Liz prepared!
The White and Rosado Wines
The wines below are the five white wines and one rosado that we sampled that morning. Remember that my multi-tasking abilities are limited in situations like this, so complete tasting notes are not included. I did, however, transcribe my one-word or three-word reaction to several of my faves.
Albariño Las Cerezas Vineyard “Home” Estate Grown 2019 – “I love this grape, I love this wine!”
Albariño Terra Alta Vineyard Estate Grown 2020 – “Perfect with that Catalan Tomato Bread!”
Garnacha Blanca Vista Luna Vineyard Estate Grown 2020 – “Divinely inspired and extraordinary!”
Rosado Terra Alta Vineyard Estate Grown 2020 – “Yes, Ma’am!”
Check out this delicious and beautiful, homemade Catalan Tortilla (aka Tortilla Española). Here is the recipe from Liz’s blog. Note that we did not have the Ancho Bourbon Sauce that is part of her recipe. I imagine that would be included if you made this for dinner or evening snack.
The view from this table is crazy beautiful. Ponds, gardens exploding with flowers, waterfalls, and vineyards in every direction.
We moved inside to sample the Red Wines.
After the stellar white and rosado wines we enjoyed outside, I was not sure that the reds would be able to please me to the same degree. But, alas, I was wrong and thrilled to have thought something so foolish. As we stood around the kitchen island sampling their Garnacha, Tempranillo, Gran Reserva Tempranillo, and Graciano, it was crystal clear to me why they were on my radar. They make easy-to-drink, beautifully made Spanish varietal wines that are affordable even once you add in the shipping cost to get them to you.
Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard, Estate Grown 2018 – “Oh, so lovely!”
Tech: 14.8% ABV., Brix: 25.2, Composition: 95% Garnacha, 5% Graciano
Clone Selection: Rioja, Aging: 24 months in 15% New French Oak, 85% Neutral French Oak
2018 Tempranillo Liberty Oaks Vineyard Estate Grown – “Yes, Please!”
Tech 14.8% ABV, Brix: 24.6, Composition: 100% Tempranillo,
Clone Selection: Ribera del Duero – Massal Selection by Markus Bokisch,
Aging: 24 months – 15% New French, 15% New Hungarian, 70% Neutral French Oak
2014 Gran Reserva Tempranillo – “LOVE” O.M.G.
This wine is a combination of our Las Cerezas and Liberty Oaks Vineyards.
Tech: 14.5% Alc., Brix: 24.8-25.2, Composition: 100% Tempranillo,
Clone Selection: Ribera del Duero – Massal Selection by Markus Bokisch,
Aging 36 months in New American & New French oak, Another 20 months in bottle.
2018 Graciano Terra Alta Vineyard Estate Grown – “I never knew… wow!”
Tech: 14.8 ABV, Brix: 25, Composition: 95% Graciano, 5% Tempranillo,
Clone Selection: Rioja Alavesa – Massal Selection by Markus Bokisch,
Aging: 18 months – 15% New French, 5% New American, 80% Neutral Oak
Wow!, what an amazing start to the day and a great way to conclude our time in Lodi.
At the Bokisch Vineyards Winery
We stopped for a hot minute at the Winery, and I grabbed a couple of shots. It looks like a comfortable and beautiful place to sip on some wine.
Bokisch Vineyards Wines are available directly at the winery or online. And do not forget to save the date for the Bokisch Vineyards wines on October 7, 2021
For more about the Lodi area and other wineries we visited, check out my overview post here.