Sometimes, spontaneous is the best. Hidden gems and delightful surprises await when you go with the flow and live in the moment. Planning is nice, but being adventurous and open to whatever comes along is exciting and rewarding!
Recently I found myself as a last-minute guest at a neighborhood barbecue. The only person I knew there was the one who invited me, but these were her neighbors, her friends, so I knew I’d have a good time. Indeed I did! Among the amazing people I met were Bob and Pauline, (parents of an up-and-coming winemaker who I hope to meet soon, and profile in a future blog post), and the host couple, Joe and Lorry. Joe is quite an engaging character; immediately lovable, though he’d probably bristle at my saying so. (He introduced himself to me, with a wry smile, as “your worst nightmare.” How can you not love that?) He is also a generous and attentive host. Throughout most of the evening, I never saw him without a fresh bottle of wine in hand, making the rounds and topping off everyone’s glass. Through Joe’s generosity and hospitality, I tasted a number of delicious wines that night. From values like Gnarly Head Authentic Red, to an absolutely amazing 2001 Médoc (I wish I could recall the label) both the wine and the laughter were flowing!
Without doubt, the most interesting and surprising wine poured that night was the Lucca Contra Costa County Mourvedre 2012. This is the wine that will forever be known, at least to us, as the “Tiramisu Wine.” The back label describes currants, dark cherries, truffles, and forest floor. While it is true that all those aromas and flavors are present, along with blackberry, black pepper, and spice, with soft, smooth tannins, what impressed us most was the finish. At first lightly cinnamon, then a hint of cocoa. Finally, after a bit of mentally scouring the sensory memory bank, it hit me. Tiramisu! The finish on this wine was tiramisu! Everyone fortunate enough to have some in their glass agreed. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and had we stuck to our original plans for that evening – a quiet dinner in – we would have missed it entirely! Three cheers for spontaneity!
Lucca Winery is located in the Central Valley town of Ripon. Dionisio Lucchesi immigrated from Italy and started farming in the Central Valley Delta, growing grapes, almonds, and apricots. In 1990, his son, Alan, took over operations at Lucchesi Family Farms, in nearby Contra Costa County, and his brother, Mark, started making wine from the family grape crop. Lucca Winery is the result of this family legacy.
Lucca Winery produces several varietal wines and blends, including Carignane, Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and of course, Mourvedre. Their wines are affordably priced, and available on their website. Not far from my hometown, Lucca Winery is now on my “must visit soon” list.
If you get your hands on some of these amazing wines, and I hope you do, I’d love to hear what you think.