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Anybody who knows me for more than 10 minutes knows my love of Malvasia Bianca. Everybody in the industry more or less refers to her as my Girlfriend, even. But the fact remains that Malvasia Bianca does really seem to be Arizona’s premier white grape. It grows well, and easily here, and it tastes amazing; far better than it does in California, at the very least. (I am still looking for an Italian Malvasia Bianca to compare.) The 2013 Bianca from Bodega Pierce is another fantastic example of what I feel is Arizona’s best white grape.
2013 Bianca; another fantastic Malvasia Bianca from Willcox
The Wine: The 2013 Bianca is 100% Malvasia Bianca, coming from Rolling View Vineyards, down on the Willcox Bench. This wine is coming from what are some of the oldest vines in that particular vineyard, according to my recent discussion with Michael Pierce about this particular vineyard in the upcoming One Stone Syrah podcast (which will air in February). It shows; this Malvasia has a particular depth to it that I quite enjoyed. Aged in stainless steel, this wine is a lovely pale gold color.
The Nose: Like all Arizona Malvasia Biancas, this particular one has an intense floral quality, with elderflower, honeysuckle, and orange blossoms intermingling with jasmine, sunflowers, and Night-blooming cereus cactus. Herbal notes of sage, lemongrass, and rosemary are also present. Mesquite honey, a touch of vanilla, and limestone river rock round out the nose. In short, if a woman wore a scent like this as perfume, I’d be pretty happy…up until the restraining order. (Actually, I’m informed that in Italy, there are women who will crush up the raisins of this grape and use it as perfume. The more you know!)
Palate: This wine, like most Malvasia Biancas in Arizona, is a little like drinking liquefied sunlight; light, bright, and cheerful. Light peach notes intermingle with sunflower, white tea, elderflower, lemon and clementine, with a little bit of sandalwood and vanilla spice. The terroir notes of limestone minerality which are standard to Willcox whites round out the finish.
Pairing: This wine is absolutely great on its own; you could drink it without food on a wonderful summer’s day. Or fall day. Or winter day. Or Spring. But, if you must pair it with food, French fries cooked in truffle oil and duck fat, with a slight dusting of parmesan cheese will work quite nicely, alongside a lemon-caper chicken and some roasted artichokes. Or a Sushi picnic.
Aside note: If you want to have even more fun with this wine, pour in a dash of St. Germain, which already has that elderflower bouquet, and make a Malvasia/St. Germain Cocktail. It’s like drinking flowers.
Impression: Like most Malvasia Biancas, this wine is a tall, willowy blonde hippie who does yoga and wears flowing skirts, and is in tune with the world, but this time, she’s standing with a bunch of other Malvasias, all art models, lounged luxuriously over comfortable couches smoking a hookah, with a stack of fresh-cut dandelions next to you on the end table, in a room filled with butterflies, after having just come out of the shower.
You can acquire a bottle or seven (I really wish I had acquired seven) at the Bodega Pierce Tasting room, in Willcox, Arizona. Also, stay tuned for a podcast with Michael Pierce about the new One Stone Syrah-Viognier co-ferment, which will be posting Next month!