martes, 26 de marzo de 2013

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera, Mendocino County 2007


- Tasting Notes: "Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera is crisp and vibrant with lively raspberry and cherry character along with complex tobacco notes". farehamwinecellar

- Winery: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards' story begins in America in 1907 when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. Eventually they moved to the warmer climes of southern California to work in the aviation industry and were joined there by various other members of the family, including four more brothers, and their father Giovanni (a a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer). Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in Contra Costa County. During the depression, shortly after 1921, Valeriano decided to begin growing grapes and the the vineyard was planted to Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvedre. In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc. located in Berkeley, CA where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name. The Jacuzzi Family Vineyards wine-making story properly begins with Fred Cline founding Cline Cellars near Oakley, California and, in 1991, the winery was relocated to the Carneros region of Sonoma, Calif. In 1994 the first Jacuzzi Family Vineyards wine was produced. Barbera hails from the hills of Northern Italy’s Piemonte region. The majority of Jacuzzi's our Barbera comes from a vineyard west of Ukiah in Mendocino County. The vineyard is planted in rocky, well drained soil. Warm days and cool evening breezes provide ideal growing weather and contributes to fruit concentration and acid. Aged 12 months on 30% new French Medium toasted oak.

- Price: £18.10


Barbera is a dark-skinned red grape variety found in several Italian wine regions, including its native Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Campania and even the island regions, Sicily and Sardinia. At the turn of the 21st Century, it was Italy's third most commonly planted red wine grape, after Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Barbera grapes are used both in blended wines and varietals - the latter are becoming increasingly common as Italy continues its move towards varietal labeling.

Barbera (like so many Italian wine grape varieties) has ancient origins, although it has only been traceably documented since the 17th century. It was first cited in an official document in 1798, by Count Giuseppe Nuvolone-Pergamo of Scandaluzzo, deputy director of the Società Agraria di Torino (Agrarian Society of Turin). The count is credited with creating the first definitive list of Piedmont's wine grape varieties. Barbera-based wines were well regarded even then, for their rustic yet generous character. They and were a favorite among Savoyard army officers, who considered the wine a "sincere companion", which helped them maintain their courage in battle.

The variety has traveled widely in the past two centuries, landing in Australia, Argentina and California, most likely following Italian migration patterns. It has this in common with Nebbiolo, although Barbera has adapted much more readily to these new environments than its fussy Piedmontese cousin, and is now responsible for wines of high quality in each of these countries. As with Nebbiolo, there is considerable debate over how Barbera is best treated; traditionalist favor longer maceration and less oak, while modernists champion rounder, more approachable styles softened by barrel maturation.

Being naturally high in acidity. Barbera can be grown in warmer climates without producing overblown, flat wines. Even warmer sites in Sonoma Valley and the Sierra Foothills of California have produced balanced Barbera-based wines. This acidity complements the cherry flavors found in typical Barbera wines, and has contributed to the (largely justified) stereotype of Italian red wines as being ripe, bright and tangy rather than voluptuous and earthy.

When young, most Barbera wines have a bright-red cherry character, distinguished from Nebbiolo (which often overshadows Barbera) by softer tannins and a certain roundness. When matured in barrel and allowed to age in bottle for a few years, this turns to a denser, sour-cherry note. A warm Merlot-like plumminess is also commonly detectable, although the variety is more closely related to Mourvedre than Merlot. When overheated, a Barbera vine will produce comparatively flat, dull wines with notes of baked prunes and raisins, while its trademark cherry flavors turn towards kirsch.

Barbera reaches its zenith in Piedmont (see Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d'Alba where the vine performs particularly on well-drained, limestone-rich slopes with a warm southerly aspect.

Popular blends include: Barbera - Sangiovese; Barbera - Nebbiolo.

Synonyms include: Barbera d'Asti, Barbera Dolce, Barbera Fine, Barbera Forte, Barbera Grossa, Barbera Riccia, Barbera Vera.


Mendocino County represents the northern limits of California's quality wine-growing regions, and even within the county's limits there is a clear vineyard bias towards its southern half. There are wine-bearing vineyards further north, in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, but neither of these has an AVA within its county lines. Mendocino, by contrast, is home to more than ten AVAs, among them the famous Anderson Valley. The Mendocino AVA which bears the county's name is something of a catch-all title and incorporates more than five other location-specific AVAs within its boundaries.

Mendocino County is one of the state's largest wine-growing areas (although far from the most densely planted), and is recognized for the diversity and quality in its wines. Climatic variation between inland and coastal areas is largely to thank for the broad range of wine styles made here. It was the cool, moist climes of the Anderson Valley which caught the attention of Louis Roederer, and led this Champagne giant to establish the Roederer Estate vineyards there.

Viticulture in Mendocino dates back to the California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, although there was a significant hiatus in wine production here (as everywhere in the US all across the US) during Prohibition in the early-1900s. As is happening all over the world, particularly in New World wine regions, new wine-growing terroirs are being discovered in this area each year, pushing California's viticultural regions further north.

Nearly all vineyards within Mendocino County are situated in the southern half of the county, although unusually for California, they lean
towards the inland areas rather than the coast. The county is divided into two distinct climatic zones by the Mendocino Range, one of several mountain ranges which make up the Pacific Coast Ranges. The inland area, sheltered from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean, is significantly warmer and drier. This area is classified as Region III on the Amerine and Winkler climate classification scale, in contrast to the Region I classification of Anderson Valley.

Wines from the Mendocino County AVAs are often described as being good value for money, a tag which plagued Chilean wines throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This is not necessarily because the county's wines are of lesser quality, but because its AVA titles are less famous than their southern counterparts in the Sonoma and Napa counties. Correspondingly, land prices are also lower here than further south. Many winemakers concentrate on growing organic grapes, with nearly 20% of the county's total production certified as such - more than any other wine region in California.

The cooler areas of the Mendocino County AVA produce outstanding Pinot Noir. Chardonnay and sparkling wines. The Alsatian white-grape varieties Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris have also found a home here, while the warmer parts of the region are suitable for growing more robust reds, such as Cabernet Sauvionon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel.

References: farehamwinecellar and wine-searcher 

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