Barbera is a red wine grape that’s known for producing robust wines with intense fruit, full body and soft tannins. The variety originated in the Piedmont region of Italy in the thirteenth century, and it’s been growing in Sonoma County since the 1880’s. More recently, US Davis recognized the grape’s potential in the Central Valley, and the momentum for the variety exploded in Amador County, the Sierra Foothills and Eldorado County. There’s also a sweet spot for Barbera in Mendocino County, where the fertile floodplain is flanked by benchlands and pinole soils. Tim Portalupi has an eye for seeking out exceptional sites for domestically grown Italian varieties and he sources this Barbera from the Pauli family who’ve been farming there for generations. The wine is absolutely rocking, and a classic Cal-Ital Barbera.
Portalupi’s 2017 Barbera from Pauli Ranch has a deep core of intense fruit that’s perfectly supported by lively, fresh acidity and juicy tannins. The wine could be the poster-child for exceptional California Barbera, and if you haven’t experienced one, this will make you an instant fan. It’s already earned a 95 Point score, and at under forty bucks, I wouldn’t wait…
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Tasting Notes: “This benchland vineyard in north Mendocino County captures the style of Barbera d’Asti. Gutsy with depth and muscle, the wine holds a juicy mouthfeel with black pepper, hints of blueberries and sweet leather. Solid acidity and tannins make this the perfect companion for the rich foods of Northern Italy.” Tim Borges
BEST OF CLASS, 95 POINTS, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge