UNTI Dry Creek Valley Vermentino 2019

30 years of incredible wine making make up the history of Unti Vineyards in Healdsburg, CA. As obsessive wine fanatics, this family-owned and operated winery specializes in Mediterranean style wines with vineyard personality. Mick and father George Unti co-founded the winery with the belief that the world’s best wine grapes come from vineyards where the vines are naturally adapted to their environment. This belief has led to planting several varietals that heretofore have not been grown in the Dry Creek Valley but are prominently planted in Southern Europe. Mick and George are avid consumers of Italian, French, Spanish, and German wine, which is the reason they are not afraid to make wines from grapes not commonly grown in California. 

Winemaker Jason Valenti’s interest in wine stemmed from his move to the Bay Area to return to the restaurant industry and pursue a degree in Viticulture and Enology from U.C. Davis. His first cellar job was with Paul Hobbs Winery which evolved into a full-time Enologist position. After a brief sabbatical he returned to become winemaker for CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Winery and transformed it from a secondary label into a revered brand with dedicated vineyards, state of the art facility and staff. With meticulous technical experience under his belt, Jason breached into European varietals and joined Unti Vineyards in 2015. He looks forward to continuing top-tier winemaking and continuing Unti’s quest to produce Rhône and Italian varietals from the Dry Creek Valley estate. 

In 2004 UNTI first planted Vermentino as part of a small experimental block of white grapes. Vermentino is native to Mediterranean areas of Europe but the climate in Northern California might be better for Vermentino because of the cool evenings which help preserve the acidity and freshness. 2019 was an excellent vintage for UNTI’s white grapes and it really shows in this Vermentino. It’s a bit more fruity and textured than previous years, yet has the minerality and acidity that we expect from UNTI. This wine signals a new style of California white wine, rendering sweet, barrel-fermented Chardonnays passé. 100% Vermentino. 709 cases produced. 

Vermentino is a wonderful wine to pair with medium-weight dishes that play with rich herbs and spices. Due to its bolder intensity, you can easily match this wine with richer fish such as halibut or even meats as bold as fennel-spiced pork sausage.   

 Jennie Kaplan Woodson – December 2020

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