BARRA of Mendocino — Blending Family and Certified Organic Wines

How do you choose the wines you purchase? We all have different criteria, but the bottom line is the wine must taste good and it must be affordable. Wines made by BARRA of Mendocino definitely fulfill both of those requirements, and you get organic certification, family ownership and attractive labels for no extra charge! Today we’re tasting three new reserve wines that we received as tasting samples.

In the spring, BARRA of Mendocino was excited to announce the re-design of their reserve wine labels and the release of three new reserve wines. We tasted those wines, and in our post we told Charlie Barra’s story of family farming in Mendocino County and his commitment to organic farming going back to 1955. The first vineyard, Redwood Valley Vineyard, was certified organic in 1989. Bella Collina Vineyard was certified organic in 2001 and the Vineyard at BARRA of Mendocino tasting room followed in 2007. Since Charlie’s passing in 2019, his family has continued his commitment to crafting quality organic wines. The family farms 350 acres planted to nine grape varieties. In addition to the vineyards, their winemaking facility, Redwood Valley Cellars, is certified organic by CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). Redwood Valley Cellars also operates as a 2.8-million-gallon custom crush facility making it one of the largest CCOF-certified custom crush facilities on the West Coast. 

The BARRA of Mendocino team includes Martha, Charlie’s wife, co-founder and owner, Martha’s daughter Shelley Maly, Sales & Marketing, Martha’s son Shawn Harmon, Finance, and Randy Meyer, Director of Winemaking & Operations.

Let’s Taste

Photo of wine bottle label 2020 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Zinfandel, Mendocino
2020 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Zinfandel, Mendocino

2020 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Zinfandel, Mendocino light ruby with generous aromas of ripe boysenberries, blackberries and berry bramble. Flavors of boysenberries, dusty earth and berry brambles mix harmoniously and are supported by ample acidity in a medium body. Tannins are fine and drying. 244 cases made. 14.5% abv. $26

This Zin is balanced with layered, delicious flavors. Eight percent Petite Sirah is blended with Zinfandel and the wine aged for 17 months in French oak (a mix of coopers), 25% new.

Photo of wine bottle label 2021 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino
2021 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino

2021 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino medium ruby with aromas of ripe black berries and black currants. Flavors of blackberries, dark plums and dusty earth are joined by background notes of dried herbs all supported by ample acidity in a medium body. Tannins are smooth and well integrated. 1455 cases made. 14.5% abv. $28

Elegant, this Cabernet is elegant. Cabernet Sauvignon stands alone here with Cabernet harvested from two estate vineyards and vineyard blocks. The wine aged for 18 months in French oak (a mix of coopers), 30% new.

Photo of wine bottle label 2020 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Petite Sirah, Mendocino
2020 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Petite Sirah, Mendocino

2020 BARRA of Mendocino Reserve Petite Sirah, Mendocinodense ruby with generous aromas of ripe plums and ripe blueberries. Flavors of berry compote, black cherries and baking spices are supported by ample acidity in a medium body. Gauzy tannins are substantial. 392 cases made. 14.5% abv. $28

Petite Sirah is the variety that launched the BARRA brand in 1997. Charlie planted Petite Sirah on the hillside Bella Collina Vineyard on the advice of Karl Wente and Louis Martini in the early 60s. That’s history in your wine glass. The wine aged for 18 months in French oak, 30% new.

These are balanced, flavorful wines. Each is easy sipping on its own (even the Petite Sirah that can sometimes be a bit too much for my palate), and all will pair beautifully with a meal.

Photo of BARRA of Mendocino Reserve wine back label
BARRA of Mendocino Reserve wine back label

I particularly appreciate that each of these wines carries the CCOF Certified Organic seal on the back label. That means the grapes are certified organic and the winemaking is certified organic. It is a higher standard to be certified organic than to follow organic principles, but not achieve certification. All carry the Made with Organic Grapes statement indicating sulfites were used in winemaking, but that sulfur dioxide is only up to 100 ppm. I also appreciate that these wines are packaged without a metal capsule; they serve no purpose and it is more sustainable not to use them. Besides, these wine bottles are plenty attractive with those gorgeous new labels.

The BARRA of Mendocino tasting room is located in Redwood Valley just north of Ukiah, where you can taste the BARRA reserve wines and their Girasole Vineyards wines. You will find information to plan you visit on the winery website.

Cheers!

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