Arizona Malvasia, Arizona Vigneron's Alliance, Arizona vineyards, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, Arizona wines, caduceus, caduceus cellars, Jerome, Jerome tasting rooms, Judith, Judith Block, Malvasia Bianca, Maynard, MJ Keenan, Verde Valley, Verde Valley Wineries, Verde Valley Wines, White wine, White Wines
High above the Verde Valley is Maynard’s vineyard near Jerome, known as the Judith Block, named for his mother. On this site is planted Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Aglianico (if I remember rightly), and, of course, Malvasia Bianca, my truest and dearest love. This vineyard has a completely different terroir than the other vineyards in the Verde, and I’m always excited to taste the town I call home. Last weekend, Caduceus released the latest vintage of the White Judith. Naturally, I had to pop in and take a look.
The Wine: The 2015 White Judith is 100% varietal Malvasia Bianca. As mentioned above, the grapes came from the Judith Block, in Jerome. At 4,800 feet, this is one of the highest vineyards in the Verde Valley. The vines are, if I remember rightly, planted on the Devonian Martin Formation. The grapes were whole-cluster pressed. Part of the wine underwent fermentation in stainless steel at 52° F; the other part was fermented in neutral French oak puncheons at 65° F. The Judith has a slight greenish tinge, compared to, say, the Freitas Malvasia from the bottom of the valley (although this is also partly a result of aging). This wine was certified by the Arizona Vigneron’s Alliance, and made by MJ Keenan.
The Nose: The 2015 Judith opens on the nose with floral notes of elderflower, gardinia, and hyssop, intermingling with honeydew melon, seasalt, and lemongrass. As the wine opens, the nose becomes more complex, with notes of honey, lychee, and mint. Overall, the nose feels lighter than those Malvasia Bianca wines coming from the Willcox AVA.
The Palate: This wine opens on the palate with notes of mint, lychee, honeydew, and the rich elderflower you expect from Arizona Malvasia. These notes intermingle with tart lemon merengue and gardenia. As the wine opens, fruit notes intensify. The finish of this wine lasts for 1 minute, 13 seconds, and is filled with notes of white peach, seasalt, and lemongrass.
The Pairing: Serve the 2015 Judith White with Swordfish or Tuna steaks with a side of Spanish rice; or do some sort dish with a focus of smoked, roasted Green Chilis. Or Thai food. You really can’t go wrong with Thai food and Malvasia….
Impressions: The Judith Malvasia should cellar for 2-10 years, no problem, thanks to the acidity prevalent in Arizona expressions of this varietal. And it’s worth collecting because a) it’s Arizona Malvasia, and b) it’s from Jerome, and right now this is the only expression of this varietal from my mountaintop abode.
Lighter than its Willcox brethren, this Malvasia is a light ballet dancer, prone to wearing bright colors and dancing either in moonlight, or in light summer showers.