Santa Barbara County
Youve probably had Malvasia Bianca even if you’ve never heard of this grape. Grown from Sicily all the way into the Balkans in Europe, Malvasia is the white grape that’s traditionally blended into Chianti (which is usually 90% red and about 10% white.)
Palmina Winery in Santa Barbara specializes in Italian varietals and makes a wonderful wine of Malvasia Bianca. The winemaker, Steve Clifton, does a masterful job producing wines of class, elegance and place that taste like their Italian counterparts with some California flair. Palmina’s Malvasia Bianca comes in at a scant 12% alcohol yet delivers big on flavor and mouthfeel. This wine pairs wonderfully with baked oysters and a touch of cream or steamed mussels in white wine sauce.
Cow + Sheep
$50 per pound
Il Tartufaio comes from Emilia-Romagna, which is Italy’s gastronomic center, and is my new favorite truffle cheese. It’s light and fairly soft...a perfect cheese to melt over potatoes or even a steak.
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