Monday, October 31, 2011


Uvaggio Vermentino at Il Fornaio

Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills is a spot I hit every now and then for lunch.  They serve good Italian food and have a wine list that's not too shabby either.  It's brief, but there always seems to be something interesting on it that catches my eye.

I generally opt for an Italian wine at Italian restaurants, but this time I went with a California wine, although it's made with an Italian grape.  There are a smattering of wineries in California that deal with Italian grape varieties, and Uvaggio is one of them.

Uvaggio, the word, is Italian for the French termencepagement.  It is used to describe the varietal makeup of a vineyard.  Uvaggio, the winery, is a two-man show based in Lodi, California.  The Cal-Italia duo grow Italian grape varieties there.

I went with their 2009 Vermentino.  It's $8 by the glass.  The wine is made from Lodi fruit, 67% from Bella Vigna Vineyard and 33% from Gayla's Vineyard.  Produced for the most part in a tank, about 10% of the wine was aged in neutral oak.  It has a low, low 11.1% abv number - perfect for lunch.

Straw is the resonant hue in the glass, and the nose features a strong minerality with aromas of pear and a faint tropical reference.  On the palate, a big splash of savory fruit makes an impression, but it seems to lack acidity.  The taste is great, though.

I paired it with a margherita pizza and a spinach salad with bacon.  The acidity simply couldn't match up with either the pizza or the bacon, but it did nicely with the spinach alone, and with a crust of bread and olive oil.  A little more acidity would have made this nice sipper a perfect match with food.

Uvaggio plays with several other Italian grapes, and I'm interested enough to want to try their Moscato, Barbera, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.

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