January 16, 2013

Wine: Freestyling in California with wine, not skateboards

By JOE APPEL

(Continued from page 1)

The wine's yumminess factor is that high, an almost undeniable joyful deliciousness, but it doesn't stop there. Raspberry fruit and a touch of root beer come out at first, then a grippy bite and touch of spice, backed with great acidity. There is terrific harmony and integration, not words ordinarily associated with such a bold and (often overly) rustic varietal. The body is refreshingly even-keeled, the alcohol is a decidedly low 13.5 percent. It's a flat-out sexy wine, and the number of California wines thrice the price that don't deliver a third of this wine's sheer pleasure is offensively high.

There's a fantastic Moscato Secco from Uvaggio ($15), though I have few illusions many of you will try it. (Why? Because people are scared of dry Moscato, a topic I hope to address soon enough.) The Uvaggio channels Friuli or Alto Adige, with that inimitable apricot nose, a great spicy bite with copious ginger notes. As with the Primitivo, I so appreciate this wine's texture: satin-smooth, supporting a lot of flesh with grace and ease.

My least favorite of the Uvaggio wines is the Barbera 2009 ($18), a grape I love when it's good but is hard to bring to balanced ripeness on the vine and can be temperamental in the glass. The 2009 comes on bold and ripe with a lot of purple berry fruit, but about halfway through, something falls out of the bottom.

The 2010 vintage will come on the market later this year: Moore likes it, but he's ebullient about the 2012 vintage, which he said "is good the way a $25 Barbera d'Alba is good. The 2012 is exceptional, one of the best Lodi wines I've ever crafted, in terms of intensity, balance, body. I want to make a real statement with that wine."

See, there's that American thing. We make statements. Jim Moore doesn't speak beyond what he knows, but he's unafraid to commingle old-world materials with an innovative attempt to introduce something new into the culture.

It's morning in America.

Joe Appel works at Rosemont Market. His blog, soulofwine.com, continues the conversation, and he can be reached at:

soulofwine.appel@gmail.com.

 

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