2010 Palmina Santa Barbara County Barbera
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid ruby. Heady, flamboyantly perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, potpourri and anise, with a spicy overtone. Silky, palate-caressing raspberry and cherry flavors show impressive vivacity and become spicier with air. Shows excellent clarity and power on the finish, which is all about sappy red fruits and flowers. This wine's nose alone is worth the price of admission.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Palmina's 2010 Barbera is just gorgeous. Expressive red berries literally burst from the glass as this juicy Barbera shows off its considerable appeal. Perfumed notes are woven throughout, adding lift and finesse, yet this remains a sensual, fruit-driven Barbera. Ideally, the 2010 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit is retains its juiciness. Steve Clifton gave the Barbera seven months in neutral French oak barrels followed by a year in large cask. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.
There are few wineries stateside who manage to do Italian varietals justice in the way that Steve Clifton of Palmina does. Fans of Italian wine know and love Barbera for its bright fruit, food-friendliness (it's heaven with pizza) and immediate accessibility, and Palmina's version of the varietal hits most of the same notes. Blackberry, mulberry, cranberry, cherry and young fig notes are supported by black tea, earth and a little bit of toast. Spicy accents of orange peel, white pepper, violet, and mocha carry through to the finish. The 2010 is a blend of fruit from four estate vineyards in three cool climate zones: the Alisos Vineyard in the Los Alamos Valley, the Honea Vineyard and Walker Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, and the Zotovich Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. Compared to the Barberas of Piedmont this is stylistically a bit bigger and plumper, but still shows that incredible vibrancy and natural acidity that makes Barbera so easy to drink and versatile. Enjoy young (decanting suggested) or lay down for a year of two for further integration. Try it with a meal of lamb chops and fresh summer eggplant seasoned with Indian spices.