Onward winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster sources Malvasia Bianca from Capp Inn Ranch in the Suisun Valley, then ferments it with ambient yeasts and finishes it in a pétillant naturel style. Like her Pinot Noir rosé pét nat, the wine is un-dosed, un-disgorged, and finished with a crown cap.
Malvasia is an aromatic grape variety, and like its temperamental brethren Gewürztraminer and Muscat, it can be a bit much. Here the grape’s natural white-flowered perfume and ripe apple fruits are balanced by the savoriness of a leesy pét nat style; in other words, this is a good choice for this grape. The wine has an active texture at first, but its ample dissolved gas quickly fizzes into quiescent bubbles delivering white petals, salty fruit, and yeasty brioche. The wine’s acidity is modest, but its structure is buttressed by a faint, astringent bitterness (from the bottle conditioning), and these savory elements complement sunny suggestions of ripe Asian pear and quince.
It’s delicious and balanced and, like its Pinot counterpart, a screaming deal. Pair it with a cheese course skewing young, mild, and milky; with crispy snacks and charcuterie; with white-fleshed seafood and poultry—or maybe just with a glass.
12.6% abv | $24 (sample), 350 cases made