WINE - Interview with Mike Filice
What is Malvasia del Fiore?
This is a wine that our family made and sold for many generations, starting in Italy. My Grandfather made it when he came to California and our family sold it in our winery tasting room in the middle of the last century (The more we charged, the more it sold!). Then we got carried away with the popular varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet to keep the business going. One day I realized that our “recipe” might be lost forever if someone didn’t start making it again. Well, I ended up being that someone.
What does the wine taste like?
We call it Malvasia del Fiore because the wine has bright aromas of flowers, especially orange blossoms. At first the wine seems simple, but its delicate complexities grow on you – kind of like an Impressionist painting. The wine is easy to drink, crisp, and refreshing. In addition to flavors of orange blossom and honeysuckle I also pick up gentle allspice and apricot.
How do you make the wine so delicate, yet full of flavor?
I learned how to make it from my Father, who learned from his father, and so forth. We start with Malvasia Bianca grapes. I was taught to pick fairly early, to keep the acid-sugar balance tilted toward acid. That’s how we encourage a nice crisp finish in the wine. Then we do a few things in the winery, “old school” techniques, to bring out the really shy flavors and aromas, so they are more noticeable. I always like helping the bashful flavors get their day in the sun. There are enough “bomber” wines out there, and sometimes they spoil the meal.