Rodica "Bela" Sparkling Malvazija Brut
Interested in small, hard-to-find sparkling wines from under-appreciated regions? Look no further than this completely natural, idiosyncratic, and delicious sparkler from the Istrian region of Slovenia, a mere five miles from the Adriatic coast.
"Malvazija" is Slovenian for Malvasia, a grape of Mediterranean origin that produces aromatic, high-acid, yet rich styles of wine.
It's a luxurious style, with poached apple, elderflower, apricot, mango, and cashew notes. Dried herbs, potpourri, soft mousse, and a full mouthfeel round out the clean, dry finish. This is a version of "pet-nat" (pétillant naturel), which all the cool kids are drinking these days.
The process is fascinating: the wine is fermented from native yeasts in enormous 2500-liter acacia casks and steel for 8 months, then bottled with an addition of the following vintage's wine and allowed to ferment a second time in bottle on its natural lees (yeast sediment) and aged. It has softer bubbles and a hint of sediment in the bottle, which is perfectly natural and to be expected with styles like this.
Certified organic, dry-farmed vines, ancestral treatment in the winery – it's all here for a mere $25 plus free shipping.
A wine like this excels with rich, robust cuisine – carne asada tacos come to mind, crab cakes, or braised pork shoulder with beans, apricots and mint. All those things you've been cooking in your Instant Pot!