At first, when truly cold, this wine has a serious and savory nose, almost saline, wet rocks, clay—very mineral. Its clear, pale yellow chemise has greenish glints and issues a faint hint of something like pineapple or passion fruit, but definitely pear. The texture is light, and the flavor profile is consistent with the aromatics, the fruit angling toward citrus and apple without really reaching either one. The finish is like green tea.
The grapes are unusual for Napa, mostly: 45 percent Tocai Friulano, 41 percent Ribolla Gialla, and 14 percent Chardonnay. These were picked ripe but barely, generally at about 20° Brix. Grapes were whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented, and a portion went through the softening step of malolactic, muffling what might otherwise have been a piercing cry of acid.
Then, as the wine warms a bit, it rounds out. There is more pear, now, and yellow tree fruit, also laurel leaf and thyme, but still a load of stone. The palate has relaxed into yellow peaches soaked in citrus, with lime peel spritzed into the mix. The acidity tingles in the middle but curiously not at the finish, which is satiny and then, at the very end, briny.
It’s a mercurial wine. Pour it not too cold, and with very young and fresh cheeses.
You may also enjoy this Maker’s Table interview with Massican winemaker Dan Petroski, with tasting notes.
12.5% abv | $30 (sample)