Arizona produces incredible Malvasia Bianca and last night I was able to enjoy a fabulous Malvasia that was great like its AZ counterparts. The 2018 Laramita Cellars Malvasia Bianca was a magnificent example of the high quality Malvasia that Arizona produces. The nose was rife with notes of stone fruit, elderflower, gardenia, and green apple. The palate also held stone fruit notes as well as hints of lychee, honeydew, and tropical citrus. The flavor was a refreshing, absolute delight to enjoy and though the ABV was 13.8 % the alcohol was well integrated into the wine. The finish lasted about 20 seconds; it came in like a wave of abundant flavor and receded promptly. The 2018 Laramita Malvasia Bianca paired extremely well with the Alaskan Pollock fillet in a white wine, cilantro, and garlic sauce.
Malvasia Bianca is a Mediterranean varietal originally believed to come from the island of Crete, however according to the Swiss grape geneticist, Dr. Jose’ Vouillamoz, the Malvasia Bianca that we grow in Arizona actually has its origins from predominately Italy and California with no Greek origins. Malvasia Bianca is an ancient and well-renowned grape that is even mentioned by the name Malmsey in Shakespeare’s Richard III. Arizona is a noted producer of Malvasia. In fact, if you look up regions that produce Malvasia, Wikipedia does indeed mention AZ, which is a great feat considering our small production tendencies in this State. If you try Arizona Malvasia, I can pretty much guarantee you will be swept away and become biased toward Bianca!
Mimi Mahl, Guest blogger
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The 2016 Deep Sky Vineyards Quasar is as unique as its astronomical namesake. The Quasar had a lovely ruby hue and decently defined legs. This 100% Counoise had a bold nose of black cherry, dust, and hints of meatiness. The palate increased the hints of meaty aroma along with notes of green bell pepper, earth, and sour cherry. The finish was smooth and lasted around 21 seconds. The ABV wasn’t too high coming in at 13.9%. This Counoise was vibrant as it opened up in the glass and paired extremely well with the dark chicken, bok choy, and pasta we enjoyed for dinner.
Arizona has a fondness for Rhone varietals both red and white. So it shouldn’t be surprising that AZ has taken to growing Counoise as well as several other reds that originated in the Rhone Valley of France. Counoise is even one of the 18 approved varieties that can be used to make Chateuneuf du Pape. One of my favorite things about Deep Sky Vineyard is its inclination to name their wines after astrological phenomenon, like the Big Bang Mouvedre or the Aurora Viognier. This tendency shows a passion for both great wines and wondrous events in our universe that are far bigger than us! This beautiful Deep Sky Quasar Counoise is as bright and exciting as the flash of light it is named for.
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I recently had the pleasure of trying Golden Rule Vineyard’s 2013 Cobra Loma. This beautiful blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Mourvedre checked all the boxes I’m looking for when searching for a complex wine. Its garnet hue had traces of mahogany and the nose was extremely aromatic. Cobra Loma had lovely notes of black cherry, cedar smoke, and anise on the nose, while the palate displayed flavors of raisins, earth, cassis, cocoa, red bell pepper and a 27 second finish. There was so much going on in my glass that catching all the flavors took quite a few sips… well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
When enjoying beef many individuals’ go-to is Cabernet Sauvignon, however I often enjoy Syrah with my steak. I find the meaty quality that many Syrah-dominant wines showcase pairs as well with beef as peanut butter pairs with chocolate. This wine, being predominantly Syrah, paired very well with the beef stew I enjoyed for dinner that night. In the end, I found Golden Rule Vineyard’s Cobra to be quite striking!
Mimi Mahl, Guest Blogger
As we get closer to the winter season, we must all give thought to what wines we want to enjoy as the weather cools. Sangiovese, named for the king of the gods, is also the king of Italian grapes and the grape that makes Chianti. This beautiful red varietal, though of vital importance to the Italian wine market, is starting to make its mark on the Arizona wine industry as well.
I had the pleasure of trying the 2016 Sangiovese from Flying Leap Vineyards and was delighted by the rustic aromas coming off the wine. Its earthy nose balanced well with the bright cherry and juicy plumb notes that arose from my glass. The soft palate was rife with fresh red berries that complemented the cedar and baking spices that the wine displayed. The 30-second finish was substantial without being over-long. All the flavors this wine displayed swept me away with thoughts of Tuscan soils and Arizona sunshine. This Sangiovese would pair excellently with a Caprese Salad as an appetizer or Spaghetti Bolognese as a main course. If you are looking for a wine that will warm you this upcoming winter, the Flying Leap Sangiovese will keep your thoughts off the cold!
Sue Schurgin, CSW, (Certified Specialist of Wine). WSET II, is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She loves wine and beer education and is also a Level 1 Sommelier.