Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lodi Summer White Wine: Uvaggio Moscato Secco

Virtual wine tasting events are becoming more and more popular, in which Twitter users take to the Twitterverse for an hour or so to taste a selection of wines and comment on them.  A large contingent of Lodites took to their favorite social media platform recently to swirl, sip and spill the beans about the amazing white wines of the Lodi AVA.  The comments put forth by the participants can be found under the hashtag #LodiLive, while full details of the event and the video stream is found here.  The wines were provided to me for review.

Lodi makes about 24% of the wine produced in California.  Various Tweeters commented that a grand total of seventy-five wine grapes are grown in Lodi, and 20-30 of them are white varieties.  The region is the leading producer of Chardonnay,Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc in the Golden State.  Rhone and Spanish varieties are popular favorites of winegrowers in Lodi.  The real purpose of this virtual tasting event was to illustrate that Lodi is more than red wine country. and their mission was accomplished.

The 2012 Uvaggio Moscato Secco is quite a bargain.  It's surprisingly dry, tastes and smells great and only rings up at about $15 on the cash register.  Jim Moore, the proprietor/winemaker of Uvaggio, specializes in Italian varieties.  He owes a debt to the old-world styles, but he is not limited by them.  "We are not attempting to duplicate what Italy has to offer," he says.  "Rather, we are creating our own interpretation, to bridge the best of both worlds."  Uvaggio is a Napa-based outfit, but they utilize only Lodi-grown grapes.

The winery points out that the Moscato Giallo grape variety "is relatively obscure even in Italy and is so uncommon in the U.S. that our government does not yet recognize it as a varietal.  We produce both a dry and a sweet version of Moscato.  The dry version, Secco, is a surprising take on what people might think of as a dessert wine.  However, it will stand up to most meals one might prepare using chicken or pork.  The sweet version, Dolce, is not sticky sweet like some Muscat-based wines, but elicits just the right hint of ripe fruit and honey."

The Secco is made from 100% Moscato Giallo from the Lodi appellation, specifically the Bella Vigna Vineyard.  Grapes were harvested in mid-October, but still at moderate sugar levels.  No malolactic fermentation here, so the acidity is untempered while the alcohol hits only 12.9%.

The Twitter users were vocal about this wine.  @norcalwine tweeted, "Uvaggio Moscato Secco's nose is spicy with notes of mineral, baked ham and an assortment of wildflowers," while @norcalwine messaged "I LOVE the nose. This is not your little sister's Moscato. It's savory AND floral."  @Luscious_Lushes liked the “Intensely aromatic, floral aromas. Secco but not SWEET."  @cellarmistress commented, "That nose speaks to me. Moscato has such a beautiful orange flower nose."  @dvinewinetime liked the "Light fruit of peach, white plums and cantalope! Unique & beautiful,"
while @FrugalWineSnob went for the "Honeysuckle, ginger. Yet another surprise: very dry!"

This dry Moscato does have a very floral nose with beautiful layers of honey, cantaloupe, tropical fruit and a touch of spice.  The aromas are sweet - dessert wine sweet - but the sip spins that notion around 180 degrees.  It's dry and savory, but a trace of sweetness does come in on the finish.  There is a very Riesling-y petrol note on the mid-palate, as well.  Fascinating?  Yes.  Great acidity?  Got it.  Flavor all over the place?  Check.  With Secco chilled, summer doesn't seem so hot anymore.

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