Wine Buzz: Four area vintners in Wine Enthusiast's top 100 for 2011

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

The year is winding down, which means it's time for lists honoring the best wines of 2011. And in this bit of good fortune, four local wineries received accolades in Wine Enthusiast magazine's "The Enthusiast 100." They are (cue drum roll):

Michael David of Lodi for its 2008 6th Sense Syrah (No. 11), Uvaggio 2009 Moscato Secco from Lodi (No. 25), Easton 2009 Monarch Mine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from the Sierra foothills (No. 30) and Terre Rouge 2009 Viognier from the Shenandoah Valley (No. 63).

The nod from Wine Enthusiast was especially nice for Jim Moore of Uvaggio, a winery that specializes in Lodi-grown Italian varietals. Moore rarely sends his wines out for review, and when facing a world of competition from Bordeaux, Napa, the Rhône and other wine hot spots, he was happy to see Lodi get some love.

"It's the Rodney Dangerfield thing," said Moore. "Lodi doesn't get much respect, but I think that's changing."

The grapes for his moscato were grown in vineyards near Galt, Elk Grove and the Mokelumne River. It's a fairly small production wine – just over 400 cases were made – and it comes with an especially nice price of $16. In terms of flavor, Wine Enthusiast raved about its "tremendous aromatics of honeysuckle and melon and a genius balancing between sweetness and acidity."

Look for the wine at Corti Brothers and the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center.

Old Sugar Mill additions

The Old Sugar Mill recently added a duo of new wineries to its hub of tasting rooms in Clarksburg. With R. Merlo Estate Vineyards and Rendez-vous Winery coming on board, that makes eight wineries total (Elevation Ten, Todd Taylor Wines, Heringer Estates, Clarksburg Wine Co., Three Wine Co. and Carvalho Family Winery round out the list).

John Beckman, general manager for the Old Sugar Mill, said he hopes to add at least one more winery to the facility and have more of them open seven days a week.

"Not a week or two goes by when winemakers and people are asking us about space," said Beckman. "If I had space for three or four more today, I don't think I'd have any problems."

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