Return to California 11: Time with Jim Moore, Uvaggio, and Il Ponte fra due Terre

Talking with Jim Moore

Ma(i)sonry in Yountville is a combined space–an art gallery and wine bar plus shop. The business features wine flights of quality local wines selected by the owner. He likes and so also pours Uvaggio.

Jim Moore has worked in Napa Valley, and California wine for three decades. After almost 20 years with Mondavi, he decided to focus on developing his own label, l’Uvaggio di Giacomo–Uvaggio. I admire the concept–the idea is to make the best quality wines possible while keeping the price under $20, all directed at enjoying with food. It works.

We taste through the entire 2010 portfolio, beginning with two whites–Vermentino, and Moscato [Giallo] secco. The Vermentino offers vibrant aromatics, and a crisp mouthfeel with good acidity. I enjoy drinking this wine. The Moscato is a Moscato Giallo with a combination of nutty and light tropical fruit and bloom. Both wines very clean.

To help keep costs down, Moore walks the vineyard sites doing the quality selections in advance of the harvest crew. Then they can move through picking what’s left quickly. Growing in Lodi allows a focus on Italian varieties that need warmer temperatures, and a lower land cost as well. The Rosato carries a blend of Primitivo, Barbera, and Vermentino offering rich aromatics, and good acidity with just enough weight to be a complement for food and refreshing. It’s lively in the mouth.

The perfect pizza wine. Going into the Uvaggio tasting I wasn’t sure what to expect–I wanted to taste Italian variety focused wines from California, and I was interested in Moore’s overall concept but didn’t know how well the quality would hold. The Primitivo was my surprise wine. It’s got a juicy (not at all jammy) core, with just enough heat and weight while being dance-y in the mouth. Of the portfolio the Primitivo was the one that most impressed me for hitting good value.

Another good value, for a little more texture with still well done flavor presentation–the Barbera. Good for meats. I love meats.

The best part of the project? The wines are good, good value, and Moore clearly enjoys what he’s doing.

Moore shared two wines from an earlier face of the label as well–l’Uvaggio’s, Il Ponte fra due Terre. First, a 2000 Sangiovese,

then, a 3-vintage blend Vin Santo style wine, both part of the Chez Panisse wine list following their release.

Write-up to follow.

Thank you to Jim Moore for taking time to meet with me, and for selecting both the Uvaggio, and the Il Ponte wines for us to taste. I enjoyed talking with you.

Thank you to Dan Fredman.

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Comments

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