Living in a climate that's friendly to growing Italian style grapes, Jon and Leanne have embraced the region, and Italian varietals. They met over a love of wine, and were married in Italy. Frequently, they visit Italy and research the wines, food, and regions. After each trip, they come home to Placerville with a new understanding of Italian wines. Then they turn that learning into producing Italian style wines here in California.
Leanne is the owner, grower, and vineyard manager of Via Romano Vineyards (link). She also has an eye for running the tasting room, guests services, and promoting the winery. Talent all the way!
Jon can chat all things wine in an easy going fashion. As owner and winemaker, he shared how the original Italian immigrants planted Zinfandel when they settled in the Placerville area. Now Zinfandel is one of the most common varietals in the area, along with Cabernet.
Via Romano makes two Rose's. (Thank you, Leanne and Jon!) Both are made with Sangiovese grapes from the same vineyard, but from different clones. The Rose' de Sangiovese is a still wine (no bubbles) and would be a great pantry staple for warm weather areas and for those of us on the coast. “It's an out-on-the-deck wine,” Jon shared.
Their Sparkling Rose' of Sangiovese is made in the Frizzante style—lightly bubbly—perfect for the warm, sunshiny climate of the area. It's lower in alcohol than the still Rose', dry, and an easy drinking wine. I could do some damage with this. Look for grapefruit on the nose and palate, and refreshingly spot on. Not sweet or bone dry. Just right.
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In the future, Jon and Leanne hope to visit Spain; as well as Alsace, an area in Northeastern France known for producing stunning white wines. This year they are making a Nocino, an Italian dessert wine (23% alcohol) made from green walnuts infused with spices. That can all only be good for us wine fans!
Jon told me,“The county grows lots of lovely whites. There are so many different things to do with them, so why not?” My tasting companion shared, “People are branching out; wiling to try something new and unique.”
If you're wanting to try locally made Californian "Italian" wines, Via Romano is an ideal place to visit.
I enjoyed trying the various wines, sampling them with foods, and hearing about their story.
This was 100% more alluring, and convincing, than making my best guess from a grocery store shelf.
The Italian music in the background even enhanced the wines.
So here's to new winemakers in California...sharing Old World wines.
Best to you on your Italian Wine Jaunt!
To find more wines near Via Romano, visit my post on the El Dorado region.
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