After visiting St. Jorge Winery last weekend I drove down the road to Viaggio Estate Winery, which was founded, by Kent and Tamara Raverty. It was then sold to three local couples: Larry and Terri Lawrence, Leo and Darla Van Warmerdam, and Gerald and Debbie Schwartz who all have backgrounds in agricultural production and marketing, including row crops, dairy and rice. While visiting I met Larry in the tasting room and his wife Terri who is the winemaker. They are both very friendly and hospitable.
The beautiful estate has similar styled architecture as St. Jorge Winery but on a much grander scale. Adjacent to the winery and event center is a beautiful mansion. This Tuscan styled villa is over 10,000 square feet and has a total of five bedrooms, including a 1,200 square foot Master suite. The other four spacious bedrooms all have their own private balconies overlooking the Mokelumne River, the walnut orchard and vineyards.
Three of the four bathrooms also have Jacuzzi tubs. The mansion has a full gourmet kitchen, along with casual and formal eating areas throughout the home. Although this area is marked off from the winery as a “private residence” visitors can see from a distance that it has a large beautiful infinity pool with a cascading waterfall, a lower pool area as well as large patio with a stunning view of the river. On the estate there is also a 1,000 square foot one bedroom cottage which can be used by guests to prepare for ceremonies.
The tasting room is inside a 9,900 square foot event center which has three levels. Surrounding the event center are patios and an outdoor promenade with multiple seating areas and water fountains and an outdoor fireplace for cooler evenings. The event center also a 6,000 square foot elegantly decorated tasting room, barrel storage area and large commercial kitchen. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the large parking also has a helipad.
While visiting I sampled the following wines:
The first pour was the 2011 Pinot Grigio - California. This wine was lightly oaked in American and French barrels. On the nose it has subtle notes of citrus, lemon, tangerine and mandarin oranges. On the palate it is light bodied, crisp and has a medium length tangy finish. This wine sells for $18 a bottle.
The second sample was the 2011 Chardonnay – Lodi. On the nose this wine displays subtle aromas of green apples, pears, a hint of popcorn and butter. On the palate it is medium bodied, medium acidity and a medium length finish. The wine isn’t overly buttery or oaky and it sells at a fair price at $18 a bottle.
The third wine pour was the 2010 Merlot Reserve. This wine displays aromas of very ripe cherries, red currants and a hint of clove. On the palate it has very soft tannins, medium acidity and a medium length finish. In term of flavor profile it offers more on the nose than on the palate as it delivered a fairly simple splash of cherries from start to finish. This wine sells for $24 a bottle.
The fourth sample of wine was the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. This wine displays pronounced aromas of cassis and dark cherries. On the palate it has smooth tannins, it is medium bodied with medium acidity and a medium (+) length finish. Like the Merlot, the flavor profile is fairly simple and it lacks structure, complexity and nuance. This wine sells for $24 a bottle.
The fifth wine was the 2010 Carignan Reserve. This wine has pronounced aromas of dark fruits, a hint of fresh cracked black pepper, beef jerky and a hint of smoke. On the palate it has refined tannins, is medium bodied, has medium acidity and a medium length finish. This was without a doubt the best wine in the line-up so I brought one home for $24.
The final sample was the Zinfandel Dessert Wine, which is a late harvest Zinfandel that has been fortified with brandy. On the nose this wine displays aromas of maple syrup, caramel and butterscotch. On the palate it has ample weight with medium (+) viscosity but it isn’t syrupy in texture. After the mid palate transition it has a spike of heat followed by a prolonged hazelnut finish. A tasty dessert wine, it sells for $27 a bottle.
To see more pictures of the Viaggio Estate Winery, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:
To visit or for more information:
Viaggio Estate Winery
100 East Taddei Road
Acampo, CA 95220