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Barra Girasole
July 17, 2023 | Barra Girasole

International Review Online Shares Their 4 Wine Roundup

Barra of Mendocino: Current Releases from the Headwaters of the Russian River

Posted on June 17, 2023 by don

The Barra of Mendocino project began in 1954 when Charlie Barra purchased Redwood Valley Vineyards located at the headwaters of the Russian River north of Ukiah in Mendocino County. For over four decades, he sold the grapes from his vineyard holdings, but in 1997 he started making wine with the talented John Parducci and created the Barra of Mendocino brand. Six years later the winery’s second label, Girasole, was launched.  Today, the Barra family’s vineyard holdings have expanded to 350 acres, including 265 acres at the Redwood Valley Vineyards estate, all organically cultivated.  All the wines produced by Barra are made from grapes grown on the estate, but about 85 percent of the grapes are sold to other producers.  UC Davis grad Randy Meyer is the lead winemaker at Barra; he previously was the winemaker at Geyser Peak.

The Barra wines, both the Barra of Mendocino and Girasole labels, offer real drinking pleasure at very reasonable prices. The Pinot Noir Reserve is a particularly good value.

The Wines

Barra 2021 Chardonnay Reserve Mendocino County ($24) 91 Medium yellow straw. The bouquet recalls poached pears, honeyed oak, and a hint of lemon curd. These are mirrored on the palate where rich, ripe fruit and acidity work in tandem, complemented by a light toasty oak note. Finishes very long and flavorful with lingering notes of rich extract. Made with organically cultivated Wente clone Chardonnay sourced from the estate’s vineyard planted in 1955 and barrel fermented in 30% new French oak. 14% alc.

Winemaker Randy Meyer

Barra 2021 Girasole Pinot Blanc Mendocino County ($15) 89  Light yellow. Revealing aromas and flavors of ripe Bartlett pear and cassava melon, this Pinot Blanc is round and full in the mouth with plenty of rich, ripe fruit. While it would pair nicely with boudin blanc or chicken breast, it is also pleasant on its own as a well-chilled, aperitif wine. 13% alc.

Barra 2021 Girasole Vineyards Charlie’s Blend Mendocino County ($18) 90 Charlie’s Blend is a fruit forward wine that delivers real drinking pleasure. Red plum, cherry and a hint of tobacco leaf all put in an appearance, and there’s good concentration and length in the mouth. It’s an excellent value in a medium weight, fruit driven red blend. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from the estate vineyard. pH 3.68, 14% alc.

Barra 2021 Reserve Pinot Noir Mendocino County Redwood Valley ($26) 92  Medium dark red. This is a finely textured, fresh and flavorful Pinot Noir. It reveals aromas and flavors of dark cherry with spicy oak notes. Smooth in the mouth with good depth of flavor and a persistent, rich finish. Well done! Sourced from the estate’s Redwood Valley Vineyard planted in 1955 at 837′ elevation. Fermented in stainless steel and matured in French barriques for 8 months. pH 3.61, 14% alc. Outstanding value!


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