The next stop in our Artisan Wine Project is the Barbera varietal.
Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano). This deep ruby grape is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, where it has been known from the thirteenth century. It produces good yields and is known for deep color, low tannins and high levels of acid (which is unusual for a warm climate red grape). In California, Barbera is one of the most successful of the Piemontese grapes to be adapted in the state, with over 8,000 acres of plantings.
We first met Jim Moore, the Proprietor and Winemaker of Uvaggio, at Lodi’s Treasure Island Wine Festival. The Wine Team at Pasta P regularly visits wine festivals of various up-and-coming California wine regions to find potential candidates for our Artisan Wine Project. Uvaggio represents exactly why we started the Project — Jim makes great Italian styled wine from lesser-known varietals and has limited distribution. Most importantly, many of his wines come from the Lodi appellation, which allow us to offer one of the best quality to value relationships to our wine-loving guests!
After our initial meeting with Jim, we conducted an extensive food and wine tasting that paired Uvaggio’s Barbera with many of our favorite Pasta Pomodoro dishes. We were so impressed that we bought his last remaining inventory of the 2008 vintage. Don’t worry 2009 is coming! So please enjoy Jim’s Barbera in your neighborhood Pasta P with any of our pasta dishes or entrees until our next Artisan Wine arrives!
For more information on Jim, Uvaggio and his robust Barbera, read on…
Jim Moore landed in Napa Valley in 1976 and three years later in September 1979, Jim joined Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, beginning a two-decade long tenure at what is perhaps California’s most renowned, if not iconic, winery. In 1988, he was promoted to their enology department and began working to help guide (and in some instances, actually define) the winemaking styles. Around this period his palate for Italian wines was recalibrated, after exposure to the exceptional vintages of 1982 and 1985. These vintages were contemporaneous with an increased awareness of wine quality in Italy and in some instances; they even involved revolutionary production techniques. He created and developed La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi in California, while helping launch Luce and Lucente from Tuscany – a collaborative effort with the Frescobaldi family of Florence. Since his beginnings at Mondavi and later as Director of Winemaking at Bonny Doon Vineyard/Ca’ del Solo in Santa Cruz, Jim has traveled extensively in Italy, especially Tuscany, Piedmont, Friuli and Trentino, as well as Burgundy and Bordeaux in France to study their vineyards, winemaking techniques and coopering. Today he resides in Napa with his wife, a librarian and educator, where they explore new culinary and vinous horizons daily.
Jim started the first incarnations of Uvaggio in 1997 after a long wait and considerable effort. Today the portfolio consists of Vermentino, Rosato, Primitivo, Moscato (both secco & dolce) and Barbera — offering neophytes and aficionados alike with accessible wines possessing vibrant flavors, framed within a classic structure, all offered at moderate prices. With key attributes like lower levels of alcohol, distinctive flavor profiles and harmonious expressions, these wines are crafted for food affinity, bringing an Italian sensibility to the American table. Jim’s philosophy is that wine’s primary role is to accompany food, which results in three important attributes — their accessibility, harmony and value.
Uvaggio’s Barbera is rich, deep and structured with subtle berry aromas and flavors, ripe stone cherries and plums, a hint of chocolate, and a lingering, layered finish. Over 90% of the grapes were grown in Lodi’s Leventini Vineyards on mature vines that are grafted to an old clone, which has been cultivated in the Lodi Appellation since the 1880’s. After harvest, it was fermented with a yeast strain which was isolated in Barolo, then immediately following fermentation and pressing, it was filled to barrels for a malolactic conversion in wood. Aging was for just over one year in cooperage consisting of new French oak, newer French and Hungarian oak, with the balance in neutral oak. The wine was bottled in December 2009 with 13.8% alcohol, pH 3.55 and TA 6.5 g/l.