2015 Malvasia Bianca
January 25, 2016
March 1, 2016
The first release of Hatton Daniels Malvasia Bianca is slightly cloudy, and pale to medium gold in color. The nose shows incredibly intense orange blossom aromas, with citrus and key lime playing a minor role. The palate shows lemon, cranberry, green apple, and white pepper, with a focused minerality carrying through the whole palate. Vibrant acid keeps the wine fresh, but there is a surprising weight to the wine as well, considering the low alcohol. The sheer fruitiness of the nose will lead many to expect a sweet wine, but in fact it is completely dry, which results in a crisp finish, and allows for more versatile food pairings.
While picking the 2014 RouMars, we found out that the vineyard also has a small block of Malvasia Bianca. Although already spoken for in 2014, we were able to reserve a few rows for 2015, and are excited to work with this unusual variety. Similar in some ways to Moscato, but with slightly less overpowering fruit, Malvasia does well in the warm climate of Contra Costa County, but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of acidity and freshness, so we still picked quite early, on August 7th. This results in a wine with lighter alcohol, at just 10.4%, and remarkable freshness. We pressed the clusters whole, and transferred immediately to very old oak barrels, where the juice fermented and went through partial malolactic fermentation. We decided to arrest malolactic with a small dose of sulfur (the only sulfur this wine saw), in order to preserve some of the biting malic acid. The wine then settled out for a few months on the lees, before being bottled in January, without fining or filtration. For this reason, there is a slight cloudiness to the wine, and it may throw a bit of sediment in bottle, especially if left in the fridge. This sediment is harmless, the clear(er) wine can be poured off the top.