Arizona, Arizona Malvasia, Arizona Terroir, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, az wine, AZwine, blends, Flying Leap, Flying Leap Vineyards, Flying Leap vineyards and distillery, Grenache Blanc, italian varietals, Malvasia, Malvasia Bianca, picpoul, Picpoul Blanc, Rhone varietals, Sonoita wineries, White blends, White wine, White Wines, Willcox, Willcox Bench, Willcox Grapes, willcox wines, wine
I know i’ve reviewed a lot of wines from Flying Leap, but the fact of the matter is that I really do enjoy their wines, and they’re especially forthright about their wines, willing to answer any crazy questions I have about them. I haven’t had a bad wine from them yet, either. Today we’re going to be focusing on the 2014 Trio, which is the closest thing I’ve ever encountered to a Vinho Verde in Arizona. It’s a style that seems like a no brainer for Arizona: a balanced, crisp white, slightly effervescent.
The Wine: The Trio is a blend of 39% Malvasia, 41% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Picpoul. The watchword for this blend, according to Mark Beres, is “balance.” The idea here was to create a perfectly balanced white between acidity (provided by the Picpoul), body, (provided by the Grenache Blanc), and aroma (of course provided by Malvasia). The inspiration for this particular blend comes from the musical term Trio, defined as the balance of a particular style of classical music involving three specific instruments; each wine acts as a particular instrument in that setting. Piano in such pieces provides the body, the equivelant here is the Grenache Blanc, while the equivalent to the cello in this musically-inspired blend is the Malvasia. The Violin equivelent, that sharp twinge that pulls at the palate-strings is provided by the slight acidity of the Picpoul. The wine was unfiltered, and fermented in steel. The effervescent character of this wine was imparted by charging a small amount of unfermented, sweet reserve Picpoul into the blend at bottling. The grapes are all from Flying Leap’s vineyards on the Willcox Bench.
The Nose: Attributes of all three grapes lurk about on the nose, but the Malvasia is most prominant, imparting aromas of honeydew melon and slight floral notes of lavender and elderflower. A slight twinge of lemon imparted by the Picpoul, along with slight herbaceous notes of rosemary and green apple which I assume are imparted by the Grenache Blanc form the edge of the nose.
Palate: Crisp apircots and lemon peel are the main notes on this wine, with subtle notes of honeydew, lavender, and rosemary. By and large, the Grenache Blanc and Picpoul dominate the palate, with the Malvasia being more silent than usual–very unusual in a Malvasia blend as that grape usually likes to make itself known. The effervescence in this wine dances across the tongue and palate, playing with the thirst-quenching acidity of this wine. The finish of this wine lasts for about 20 seconds, filled with apple, effervescence, and that classic Willcox limestone minerality.
Pairing: I’d honestly pair this wine with a hot summer’s day, with the cicada’s calling and the monsoon clouds building across the horizon. Barring that, I do oddly feel that the crisp acidity of this wine would lend itself well to summer barbeque, such as bratwurst or hot wings. For a vegetarian/vegan pairing, I’d go with some sort of tempeh lettace tomato sandwich or a spicy hummus and celery plate.
Impressions: In all, the wine is very consiously designed to emulate a particular style of classical music, and it works quite well. It’s refreshing as all hell, too. As I mentioned above, it’s very reminicent of a Vinho Verde or its basque equivelant, Txokalina. The music comparison for this wine works quite well; it is a beautifully harmonious and balanced white. I honestly am not sure why more winemakers aren’t attempting this style here, because, like our dry rosé, this particular style of wine seems well-suited for our hot summers, when something refreshing is always welcome in a wine glass. It’s a rare treat which you can only acquire in the Sonoita tasting room.
This wine is a classical musician, trained on multiple instruments, and plays them all well. His inspiration for his works are the landscapes in which he lives, and loves.