06 Jan Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Girasole Vineyards 2019 Pinot Blanc, Mendocino County
Pinot Blanc, a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, is a versatile grape most famously planted in Alsace, France. There are approximately 425 acres of pinot blanc grown in the entire state of California and 14.5 of those acres belong to the Barra family who produce the Girasole Vineyards 2019 Pinot Blanc, Mendocino County, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Girasole Vineyards was started by Charlie Barra in 2001 who also started the label Barra of Mendocino. Charlie Barra, who passed in 2019 at the age of 90, purchased 175 acres of Redwood Valley Vineyard in 1955. Located in the most northern part of the Mendocino County, Redwood Valley is a unique appellation where the climate permits the grapes to mature while still being cool enough to allow the grapes to ripen slowly to enhance the flavors. Charlie was one of the first growers on the North Coast to plant Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. And over the next 35 years, Charlie would add another six varietals to the soils of Redwood Valley Vineyards including Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Zinfandel, and the 14.5 acres of Pinot Blanc. Today Redwood Valley Vineyards encompasses 264 total acres that sit at 837 feet in elevation and was California Certified Organic Farmers certified in 1989.
The Pinot Blanc was picked, destemmed and transferred to the tank press. After fermentation, the wine spent 90 days in stainless steel. The wine is a pale straw color with notes of stone fruit, citrus, lemon curd, fresh melon, and minerality. On the palate, the wine is light bodied with delicate acidity. For $14, the Girasole 2019 Pinot Blanc, Mendocino County is a wine to sip on its own or to pair with cheddar cheese, crab cakes, or a vegetable pasta dish.