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So I attempted to record a podcast with this wine last night with my friend Amanda… twice. And both times failed to save. Clearly chromebook is not a good podcasting platform, so I’ll have to figure something else out, unless someone knows a great way to podcast on a chromebook that will actually save. (I’m all ears for suggestions, by the way!) But I digress.

We’ve met Freitas Vineyards once before, when we reviewed their Petit Sirah, and we’ll meet them again later too; they got double gold for their Sangiovese at the Grand Arizona Wine Festival and I managed to grab a bottle.  As one of the Verde Valley’s oldest wineries, Freitas has a long history here, with some fantastic wines.  Anyway, let’s move on to having out with my grape girlfriend already.

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Freitas Vineyards 2011 Private Reserve Malvasia Bianca amidst the golden boughs of Jerome.

The Wine: I don’t know too much about the details of this particular wine, but what I do know is that it’s 100% Estate-grown Malvasia Bianca from right here in the Verde Valley: Cottonwood, specifically.  Furthermore, unlike almost every other vintage of Malvasia in the state, this particular wine was aged in some French oak, which adds a lot of complexity to the mid-palate which can sometimes be lacking in this grape overall.  I’m not sure what percentage of new oak was used, however.  The winemaker, according to the label, was Darren Evans.  The wine has aged to become the beautiful golden colour of fall leaves, as you can see in one of the photos I took of this wine.

Nose: Like most Arizona malvasia, this wine has an intense elderflower nose, intermingling with floral notes of jasmine, lavender, honeysuckle, along with honeydew melon. The oak adds a vanilla and petrichor componant that isn’t always there in many versions of this grape.  After the wine was been open for a while, notes of honey and limestone dust emerge from the glass.

Palate: This wine has aged a bit to where honey is now a major part of the flavor profile, intermingling with the elderflower and jasmine.  Vanilla and the characteristic limestone terroir of the Verde Valley provide the major notes of the mid-palate and finish, intermingling with honeydew melon and a flavor reminicent of hops.  The finish lasts for 40 seconds. There’s also a high acidity in this wine, which is why it’s aged so well–in fact, this bottle would probably have aged another 5 years or so absolutely fine.

Pairing: Unlike most other vintages of this grape in Arizona, I would not pear the 2011 Private Reserve with sushi.  Instead, pair this wine with pad thai, either with chicken or tofu.  The honey notes also mean it would pair well with some desserts, as long as they are not too sweet, like some forms of carrot cake.

Impressions:  The use of oak on this vintage makes this wine even more fun and interesting than other versions of Malvasia Bianca in Arizona. The high acidity also means this wine would continue to have aged well, for at least another 5 years or so.

My friend Amanda described this wine as making her feel like she wanted to twirl in a dress with frills in a meadow of flowers under a towering oak, saying “it makes me feel pretty.”  I’m inclined to agree- this Malvasia is definately resting in a field of lavender, hops, jasmine, and elderflower, under a towering oak on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Bonus:   Here’s a relaxation video of the Malvasia in Bitter Creek, here in Jerome.  Also look on Facebook to see some of the other photos I took of this wine during my photoshoot of this particular vintage.

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