Two crazy grapes – Manzoni and Malvasia!

I couldn’t not write about two white wines that are embedded in my memory. They’ve both smacked me in the face with the words “um hello, friendly reminder, I’m delicious, now don’t you forget it!”. And it’s true they are.

So, I’m writing about them so you will try them too.

Birichino Malvasia Bianca

Grape variety – Malvasia Bianca, where does it come from? (because you know, it’s soo mainstream! ha ha ha. kidding, it’s not THAT mainstream!)

Well it’s origin is Greece, and it grew all around the Mediterranean. The “Mom” grape is Malvasia, which is also called Malmsey and mostly used to make sweet wine called Madeira. Malvasia Branca is a “child” along with other “siblings” which today you’ll find throughout Europe all the way over in California and even Australia!

birichino malvasia

Ooooh this is the one that recently stole my heart. It has a slight floral aroma, but it’s laced with juiciness like lychee, ripe juicy pear that finishes with a citrus acidity, it’s not an acidic bomb at all, it’s instead very well-integrated and just sooo enjoyable! It’s dry and refreshing. I think if I visit their winery, I might stay!

Foradori Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco

Grape variety – Manzoni Bianco where does it come from? Manzoni grapes are primarily grown in Northern Italy. And this one exists from a cross of Riesling and Pinot Bianco (Blanc for you non-Italians).

Manzoni Bianco

This is a fun one, made by well-known female winemaker Elisabetta Foradori (who focuses on natural winemaking). Another maybe hard-to-find variety, but well worth the investigating.

It’s soft and juicy with tropical fruits and a citrus balance and delicious acidity. It’s fermented on the skins in cement tanks, followed by 12 months of aging in acacia casks, which gives this white wine body and character and slight tannin. It’s like a warrior princess in the room. Feminine, strong who likes to be all natural.

SEEK OUT THESE WINES. Or, you are truly missing some real gems.

yummidy yum yum.

Three beautiful Californian reds

Recently I had a chance to try 3 very cool wines from two small family wineries in California. There are some very cool wines coming out of Cali, that are not the typical Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. If you ever get to stop in at the winery – I am sure you’ll enjoy these wines too!

2013 Devil Proof 

Devil Proof Vineyards

100% Malbec from Alexander Valley

approx. $85 usd

IMG_2481A Cuban connection – “Devil Proof” is a common saying in Cuba

Made by a young winemaker by the name of Jesse Katz. He is one of many who are being bold and testing the boundaries for what this area is known for.  And just recently Parker rated this the best Malbec in California!

Super soft on the nose, slightly dirty plums and some bright berries, solid acidity and strength with some spice, slight garrigue, minerals and a little dust on the tannins, and concentrated.

Aperture Wines (grapes label)

Aperture Winery

95 % Cabernet Sauvignon / 5 % Malbec

approx. $50 usd


Made by Jesse Katz in collaboration with his dad Andy Katz. Super soft tannins for a Cab dominant wine, some grip on the acid and tannin, slight hint of green pepper, a little heat, but opens nicely with a hint of tobacco notes. Jesse’s wines were noticed by Justin Timberlake, who poured the Aperture at his wedding to Jessica Biel.


Aperture Wines (burning barrels label)

60% Merlot / 40% Cabernet Franc

Right Bank Bordeaux style wine

approx. $50 usd


Personality plus on the nose,  fruits jump out of the glass, perfumed and juicy, leafy, smooth, think of an oreo cookie – Merlot is in the middle and Cab Franc is the chocolate cookie, hints of mocha, liquorice. Well balanced, medium plus in body.

made by Jesse’s dad Andy Katz

all the wines see approx 12 months in new oak to allow the personality of the grapes to show


Check out these wineries and see why you should keep a close eye on their winemaker and wines!