What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 16

A Pinot Noir worth rolling the dice for.
A Pinot Noir worth rolling the dice for.

2019 Barra Pinot Noir Mendocino

Silky on the palate, and redolent of cassis, black cherries, lavender and a hint of graphite, the 2019 Barra Pinot Noir ($24) from Mendocino is food-friendly yet delightful enough to sip all on its own to unwind after a long day.

Aged 14 months in 20 percent new French oak, it has a subtle vanilla note and an elegant, smooth finish, as evidenced in the sample bottle I received.

The late Charlie Barra founded his namesake winery, planting his first vineyards in Mendocino in 1955. He is considered the godfather of Mendocino grape-growing for his leadership in pioneering more efficient and sustainable methods, and for promoting organic practices.

The legacy of his 350-acre estate continues under the management of his widow Martha Barra, who just celebrated her 80th birthday last year.

Pick up a bottle from the winery’s online store or Wine.com.

Cheers: Celebrating the Year of the Tiger with Peking duck with hoisin sauce? This wine will ensure it’s a harmonious one.

2020 Biltmore Estate Albarino

A visit to Asheville, NC isn’t complete without touring the historic Biltmore Estate, a sprawling 250-room French renaissance chateau built by the Vanderbilt family in 1889. Its 8,000-acre grounds and gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, considered the father of landscape architecture who designed New York City’s Central Park.

This storied estate is also home to a winery, built on the site of what was once a dairy. It’s where visitors can now enjoy tastings, as well as behind-the-scenes tours.

Its 2020 Biltmore Estate Albarino ($18) is a new release, which I sampled recently. Made with the Spanish white grape grown for Biltmore in California vineyards, the wine is a bouquet of spring wildflowers on the nose, and peach blossoms, honeysuckle, lemon, and grapefruit on the palate. It’s crisp, dry, and very aromatic.

A new release from a winery operating on a most historic property.
A new release from a winery operating on a most historic property.

Find the wine at the Biltmore online store, and enjoy it with any flaky white fish, linguine Vongole or Peruvian ceviche.

Cheers: I will always have a fondness for the Biltmore Winery, after visiting it many years ago, and actually getting carded! Yes, and believe you me, I was way past 21. But what woman doesn’t appreciate a moment like that, right?

2019 Acrobat Pinot Noir Oregon

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for Oregon Pinot Noir with its typical spot-on balance of earthiness and fruitiness.

The 2019 Acrobat Pinot Noir from western Oregon follows that same trajectory — beautifully.

An incredibly well-priced Pinot Noir to fall in love with.
An incredibly well-priced Pinot Noir to fall in love with.

The screw-cap wine, of which I received a sample, is light garnet in color with a slightly weightier body than many other Pinot Noirs. It makes you want to savor each and every sip. You will, too, once you taste its luscious hints of dark cherry, clove, and smoky black tea.

But don’t just take my word for it. Wine Enthusiast was enthusiastic enough about it to award it 90 points. And at $19 a bottle, it’s a bargain.

Find it at The Foley Food & Wine Society online store, Total Wine & More, and WineWorks.

Cheers: Pair it with some Northwest wild salmon and you’ll have a meal worth bragging about.

More: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 13

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 14

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 15

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