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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of Lapis Luna Wines

If you have been reading my column over the years you know I am always searching for the highest quality wines in our market, but as most readers want, at the most impressive value. One of those wines has recently entered our market and ready your taste buds because you will be impressed with Lapis Luna Winery.

Andrew Nelson is one of the owners behind the label. He has a gift for finding well-sourced quality grapes throughout California. His goal is exactly what most of us are looking for: To create a brand that will, in his words, "over-deliver in quality and price point."

Lapis Luna translates to "stone" and "moon." The labels are based on 400-year-old copperplate engravings depicting the relationship between earth (Lapis) and the moon (Luna). Each label has a faceless hero striving to connect for inspiration just as this group of winemakers has in producing and creating its wines. The back label continues to offer inspiration not just in the artwork but with a philosophical quotation, such as "those who do not move, do not feel their chains" or "the perfect time to start never arrives."

How does a producer create value-priced wines with exceptional quality? Just like the art on the labels, it's all about relationships. Since 1999, Lapis Luna has been cultivating relationships with established growers throughout Lodi and the North Coast. This continued courtship ensures the brand has selected sources for the fruit they are buying. In other words, this brand does not settle for the leftover grapes from larger brands.

2018 Lapis Luna Red Blend, California (about $16 retail)

2018 Lapis Luna Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $16 retail)

2018 Lapis Luna Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $16 retail)

2018 Lapis Luna Zinfandel, California (about $16 retail)

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London's Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203, or email:

uncorked@thewinecenter.com

Food on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: Winemaker's secret is building contacts

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