Arbe Garbe White Blend 2016
Blend: 45% Malvasia, 25% Tocai Friulano, 30% Ribolla Gialla
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2016 White Wine, a blend of Malvasia Bianca, Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano, is floral-driven to begin: honeysuckle, lychee and musky hints make way for white pepper, poached pears, quince, honey oats and notes of beeswax, olive and petrol with a spicy undercurrent. The palate demonstrates real class, with intense but elegant flavor layers, a silky texture and very long, energetic, clean finish. Pretty and elegant yet powerful—a ballerina-like wine.
Friuli is a region nestled between Austria, Slovenia and the rest of Italy. Like the "arbe garbe", it has been silently growing over the centuries, a borderland that quietly and discretely provided fertile ground for the Roman Empire, the Barbarians, the Huns and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, all of which invaded it and settled there throughout the ages, all planting their roots and melting into the blend. A land of migrants, silent crossroad of cultures where sacred and pagan have been living next door to each other, the people timorously gathering in the village churches while the witches were gathering in the woods.
Friuli hides in the Valleys of the Eastern Hills. Its real essence, like its quiet population, is concealed in the arcane valleys carved by the rivers of the Colli Orientali – Natisone and Torre. These valleys are traditionally populated with peculiar wicked creatures that human are not, while the wine has been free flowing on every kitchen table of every village, to this day.
Arbe Garbe's endeavours are motivated by this history of discretion and endurance, by the dignity and modesty typical of their people, Furlans, hard-working and iron-willed, humble yet proud of the cultural opulence and poignant beauty of this longtime forgotten Land.
Working the land, making wine and baking bread were the everyday tasks of their ancestors and still inspire them today. Through crafting these wines they viscerally reconnect to their roots. The variables of wine-making are determined as vintage calls, through diligent study and raw guts. There are no absolute rules, no recipes. With a purely hedonistic approach, ever-changing blends are created that embrace the melting pot they live in – California, and the one they’ve left behind.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.