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It’s been a while since we’ve explored my Ultimate Bae and fiancée Malvasia Bianca here on the Arizona Wine Monk Blog. That’s my own fault. It’s a long story we won’t get into, other than it involves a woman who’s perfume bore a remarkable resemblance to most Arizona expressions of this varietal, who really did a number on me.
But I’m all better now. I don’t plan on leaving Malvasia Bianca ever again. Malvasia is bae, as I suppose the youngsters might say. And what better way to get back into Malvasia than with one of the best producers of this grape in the state? We reviewed the 2013 vintage a while back, so let’s jump forward in time, shall we?
The Wine: Like the 2013 vintage, and the 2015 that’s currently at Four-Eight Wineworks, this wine is 100% varietal Malvasia, coming from Rolling View Vineyards. I’m pretty certain that this vintage, like the last, was fermented in stainless steel, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of it was aged on a little bit of neutral oak as well, as it seems a little fuller bodied than last year’s vintage. The incredible differences between vintages make me wonder if different yeasts are being used each year, or if Malvasia naturally is that varied from one year to the next, based on weather conditions, but I digress. The winemaker was Michael Pierce. The wine itself is the lovely, cheerful sunshine yellow of an average local Malvasia Bianca; a wine itself which was once described to me as “liquid sunlight.”
The Nose: What’s particularly interesting to me is that every vintage is so incredibly different. The 2013 vintage was quite floral on the nose, and 2014 is decidedly not. (The 2015 in Four-Eight currently is also different, being entirely tropical fruit.) Instead, notes of lemon-lime and apple form the opening salvo, along with tropical fruit such as starfuit, pineapple and banana. As the wine opens up, these notes begin intermingling with flint, chamomile, and white tea, and the slightest hint of gardenia and lavender.
The Palate: Notes of chamomile, white tea, and starfruit are particularly prominent in this vintage on the palate as well; with hints of elderflower, jasmine, and rose intermngling with the tropical fruit and tea. As the wine opens, these floral notes intensify, and intermingle with flint and dust. As the wine opens up, notes of honey emerge on the palate. The finish of this Malvasia lasts for 1 minute and 19 seconds.
The Pairing: I feel like this wine will be a great breakfast or brunch pairing with huevos rancheros or a green chili omlette. I feel this would also be a great wine to pair with a gyro too; the subtle flavors of the wine will play with properly-made tzatziki sauce. For a vegan or vegetarian pairing, Pad Thai will also work splendidly.
Impressions: As I stated before, I’m struck by how different each vintage of Malvasia from this vineyard is. Does this grape vary so much by climate? Are different yeasts used every year? Is it both? I wasn’t able to reach Michael Pierce to comment about the yeasts used in the different vintages in time for this post to go live, but hopefully he’ll be able to tell me one way or the other.
If you want to try Malvasia, but don’t particularly care for Floral whites, this one is a good one to begin your explorations with. This particular Malvasia feels more masculine than other expressions, so much so that I would declare this vintage to be a blonde gentleman and scholar of the Crusades. He has a tan from just returning from a dig site at a Crusader castle somewhere in Lebanon.