It is time for another edition of “Random Samples”–I occasionally get samples from marketing agencies and/or producers, and these can often be grouped together into some sort of over-arching theme: Drink Them and It Will Come, Summer is Here, So That Means (More) Rosé, If It Doesn’t Sparkle, It Doesn’t Matter.
Other times, I get just a bottle or two though that do not have any apparent connection or link. Instead of holding on to those bottles until the “right” combination comes along, I decided to link all these “random” bottles together, making their own category.
[This go around, the wines were shipped out to California, to my father-in-law’s house since, wait for it, it is even illegal to ship wine samples to the
screwed up fine Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Yes, I am even taking this opportunity to rail against the second most restrictive state in the Union (we trail only Utah–yes Mississippi has friendlier alcohol laws than PA).]
The first two bottles come from long-time Italian varietal winemaker Jim Moore (who was the winemaker behind Robert Mondavi’s “La Famiglia” project which focused on Italian grapes). When Mondavi went the corporate route, the project was eliminated,, but Jim kept going when he teamed up with Mel Knox, a long time French barrel salesman, and created the brand Uvaggio (which is Italian for “blend”). The fruit for all the Uvaggio wines comes from Lodi, California, long a source for jug wines, but the appellation has recently been producing several highly regarded wines (more on Lodi in a coming post).
Lodi can be hot. Really hot. A fact that Jim feels is perfect for growing Italian varieties. Along with the Vermentino and Primitivo that I sampled, Jim produces a few Muscats (dry and sweet), a Barbera, and a smattering of other wines, all from Italian grapes.
2012 Uvaggio Vernmentino: Retail $14-16. Citrus and nuttiness with a bit of florality on the nose. On the palate, great acidity, but also a roundness that fills the mouth. Lingering finish. If I were to find more Italian whites like this, I could likely become a convert. Very Good to Outstanding 88-90 Points.