Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Onward For Malvasia Bianca

A recent Brandlive virtual tasting featured the wines of Napa-based Onward Wines. They are what the PR department calls, "single-vineyard, site-driven wines crafted by one of the most exciting winemakers out there." They’re talking about Faith Armstrong-Foster, whose "mantra" is, "I could never make a wine I couldn’t afford to enjoy myself." She grew up in British Columbia, a good little Canadian girl who went to school every day in a tiny boat called - wait for it - the Onward.

Armstrong says her wines are site-driven, and she owes part of her success to the growers with whom she has partnered - Hawkeye Ranch, Cerise Vineyard, Capp Inn Ranch, Casa Roja Vineyard, Ledgewood Vineyard, Knox Vineyard and Babcock Vineyard. A smaller part of her success could probably be attributed to that little boat. Onward Wines was created in 2009 and she has another line, called Farmstrong.

Charles Communication, the PR folks who staged the virtual tasting, tweeted "Faith fell in love with #wine while shoveling a fermenter - that's #truelove for you."

Suisun Valley Malvasia Bianca 2015

The Malvasia Bianca grapes came from the Suisan Valley in Solano County east of Napa Valley, from Brian and Rob Capp's Capp Inn Ranch. Their great-grandfather was named Giuseppe Caporicci before changing it to Joe Capp when he came to America. Armstrong loves their Malvasia Bianca grapes and also makes two other wines from them, a tank-aged still and a bubbly. This one is light on the alcohol and sells for $20.

Armstrong calls this wine "Tahiti in a glass," and it really is much like a liquid vacation. It's a pale, straw-gold color with a nose full of flowers, citrus and wet stones. It's not terribly acidic at first, but the freshness really comes on as the wine lingers in the mouth. It feels lean and clean on the palate, and leaves a green apple flavor on the finish. Not strictly a sipper, this wine can handle salads, fish and chicken.

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