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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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