A couple of months back I tasted a Zinfandel from Barra of Mendocino. It was my first experience with their wines. I knew immediately it wouldn't be my last. After tasting well over 50 Zinfandels in a short period of time, the modestly priced selection from Barra emerged as one of my favorites. Over the next couple of days I'll look at three more releases from this family winery. Their current release of Chardonnay will be the first. The Barra of Mendocino 2006 Chardonnay is 100% varietal. 280 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $18.
Dueling apple and pear notes underscored by vanilla fill the nose of this aromatic Chardonnay. Throughout the palate this wine is soft and lush. Orchard fruit notes are prominent along with spice characteristics that all come together towards the middle for a striking reminder of apple pie. The finish features more abundant spices that bring fruitcake to mind as well as toast, mineral and a richness that builds as this Chardonnay lingers quite awhile. Excellent acidity and good balance make this wine a good selection to pair with lighter foods or medium strength cheeses. It also drinks quite nicely on its own.
This Chardonnay from Barra of Mendocino hits my sweet spot for the varietal. It's full of fruit and spice notes. The oak is clearly present and adds complexity but never detracts from all of the fresh flavors. This wine is a clear bargain. It offers much more complexity and charm than the average Chardonnay in its price range. Stay tuned for looks at their current Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah releases.
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