Wine Review Online Tastes our Barra Reserve Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Girasole Pinot Blanc
Barra of Mendocino, Mendocino County (California) Chardonnay Reserve 2021 ($24): Barra’s Reserve Chardonnay is sourced from the best grapes harvested each year. Winemaker, Randy Meyer, told me that patience in winemaking is what sets Barra’s Chardonnay apart from the rest of California. All of Barra’s vineyards are farmed organically, which means they spend more time and effort in preventing potential problems than dealing with their impact. In the winery, the wine is barrel fermented and barrel aged for well integrated flavors that come across with each sip. Barra’s Chardonnays undergo four-to-five months of lees aging to integrate the desired bready complexity from yeast autolysis. This wine is an excellent example of a California Chardonnay with complex fruit and balanced winemaking influences. Barra’s Reserve Chardonnay can compete with Chardonnays from neighboring Sonoma and Napa but I doubt they can compete with its $24 price tag.
91 Vince Simmon Jul 11, 2023
Girasole Vineyards, Mendocino County (California) Pinot Blanc 2021 ($15): Girasole Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc is both instantly enjoyable but also a stunning expression of what this variety can provide. Winemaker Randy Meyer claims this is one of the easiest wines to make and yet it is also one of his favorites to drink. Loaded with crisp tree fruit and melon notes and, with its 13% abv, this wine is perfect for summer. Girasole Vineyards was founded by Charlier Barra in 2003. Charlie grew up in Mendocino county making organic wine long before making organic wine was popular. He brought every lesson learned to Girasole, ultimately helping the winery earn and maintain their California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) status while still making wine that doesn’t spare any points on quality. At $15, it’s hard to find wine this good, doubly so in the North Coast of California. This Pinot Blanc would do well by-the-glass as a house pour or at a picnic with friends.
92 Vince Simmon Jul 11, 2023
Barra of Mendocino, Mendocino County (California) Pinot Noir Reserve 2021 ($26): Launched in 1997, Barra of Mendocino is the culmination of 30 years of experience from Mendocino local and winemaker, the late Charlie Barra. Today, Randy Meyer carries the touch helping integrate Charlie’s desire for organic farming into quality wines that perform well both on the market but also in their wine club. The Reserve Pinot Noir shows the tart dark fruit with subtle but noticeable oak influences from barrel aging. Mendocino’s diurnal shift means temperatures can drop as much as 40 degrees at night, helping the grapes preserve their acidity through the hot northern California summers. Barra’s vineyards sit in the sweet spot between the Pacific Ocean and Sonoma where a lack of fog helps reduce much of the mildew and disease pressure that neighboring vineyards have to manage. Even with all that, Barra works to produce excellent wines that over deliver at their price point and that is exactly what they’ve done with their Reserve Pinot Noir.
89 Vince Simmon Jul 11, 2023