The second selection during the 12 Days of Zin, takes us up to Mendocino. Barra of Mendocino is a family owned winery that exclusively uses Estate fruit in its wines. They have 175 organically farmed acres under vine. Petite Sirah, Chardonnay and Muscat Cannelli are just of few of the varietals outside of Zinfandel that they produce. Their history is a long one, founder Charlie Barra has been farming grapes since the mid 40's. In 1954 he purchased the land the vineyards are part of. The 2004 Barra of Mendocino Zinfandel is a brand new release. This wine is 100% varietal. The wine was aged in a combination of new (20%), one year (40%) and three year (40%) French oak. 562 cases of this wine were produced and the retail price of this selection is $20.
The Barra of Mendocino 2004 Estate Zinfandel is impressive from the word go. That said, letting it breathe is recommended for it to spread it's wings and fully soar. Blackberry jam, cassis and vanilla notes leap out of the glass and form a lively and exciting nose. From the first sip it's filled with plum notes underscored by subtle cinnamon. This wine has a rich round, smooth, mouth-feel. The entire palate is full of big, firm fruit notes. The finish, which is lengthy enough to be impressive, features lots of spice in the form of black pepper as well as mocha notes that really emerge in a big way once this wine opens up, bringing to mind chocolate covered blackberries.
What I like best about this Zinfandel is how well balanced it is, featuring excellent acidity. The four years of aging before release seem to have suited this wine very well. It nicely layered with good fruit and spice components and several layers of complexity. Harmonious is the word that comes to mind most when reflecting on this selection. As indicated above, less than 600 cases of this wine were produced. If you're a fan of well made Zinfandel that will complement a wide array of food, this is one to get your hands on. Kudos to Barra of Mendocino.
Up Next: The 12 Days of Zin Continues
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