The Big Little Guy

Gerry Moro grew up watching his family make wine in Italy. So when they immigrated to the U.S., Moro had winemaking in his veins. But he had sports in his blood, too. He trained for the U.S. Olympic team, competing in the 1968 decathlon. Moro didn’t win a gold metal there but has gone on to receive several awards for his wines.

Thirty years ago he started by making only three barrels of wine. “I’m the pioneer of the little guy,” he said joyfully. When Gerry started Morovino in 1994, he already had his game plan: “I wanted my wines to be exactly like my mom’s.” While he produces a few white wines, it’s the red wines, reminiscent of his Italian childhood, that he adores. Once he proudly showed her a big, rich, tannic wine he’d made. “No,” she critiqued, “leggero” (light). Not every wine needs to be overpowering.

Today he makes both delicate and easy light wines — the “everyday stuff” — and a few heavy hitters. Morovino’s production has increased from those first three barrels, but Moro enjoys being a small producer, preferring a low-key approach. He is currently making about 2,000 cases a year. For now he’s content to “play golf, make a little wine, and be happy.” That’s the Italian way.

Our Picks

2001 Sangiovese: Soft cherry fruit is framed with balanced acid that will complement the meal, not overshadow it ($20).

2002 Dolcetto: Deep berry fruit, earthy with signs of sage. Another leggero wine that works amazingly well with fish, chicken, and beef ($22).

2003 Merlot: This terrific Merlot comes from the Santa Rita Hills, a cool region that doesn’t typically favor the heat-loving Merlot grape. But Moro makes it work. Cranberry, blackberry, and slight raspberry form a focused, tannic wine that will age well for years to come ($25).

2003 Syrah: Traditional flavors of blackberry and subdued pepper in the back palate, framed by toasted wood and a hefty tannic structure ($25).

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