2012 Palmina Santa Barbara County Barbera

SKU #1208349 92 points Vinous

 Once again, Palmina's 2012 Barbera is absolutely delicious as well as one of the most distinctive wines in the range. Pungent red berries, orange peel, spice and mint open up in a super-classic, old-school Barbera endowed with tons of complexity and nuance, with a distinct nod to the great old-school Piedmont Barberas. The 2012 spent six months in neutral barrels then two years in cask. From top to bottom, this is a compelling set of new releases from Steve and Chrystal Clifton at Palmina. Although all of these wines are delicious, if there is one wine that delivers an especially compelling mix of quality, personality and value is the Barbera, which is on a par with the best versions from Piedmont. (AG)  (6/2015)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Pungent aromas of dried cherry, woodsmoke and musky herbs, with a hint of smoked meat in the background. Fresh, tangy and pliant, offering gently chewy red fruit flavors and a subtle note of candied rose. Bright acidity adds lift to the smoky, persistent finish, which shows a repeating bitter cherry note and a hint of gaminess. Fans of traditional northern Italian wines are in for a pleasant surprise if they venture to try Steve Clifton's offerings, many of which out-Italy Italy, based on my most recent tastings. The key to achieving that character is 'reining in the California fruit and letting the vineyard come through,' according to Clifton. 'Flavor intensity isn't an issue,' he added, 'but elegance can be, so careful work in the vineyard and cellar are crucial to keeping things in balance.' Clifton makes no claims that his wines are Italian knock-offs, pointing out that while Italy is 'obviously the motivator, you're only going to make Italian wine there. These are Californian.' (JR)  (12/2014)

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Price: $24.99
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- Thanks goodness for Italy's wine revolution! If not for the intrepid producers who reduced yields and focused their energy on improving quality in Italian wine production, we may have never known how delicious Barbera could be. Native to Italy, Piedmont's Monferrato is most often cited as its birthplace (though others argue that Oltrepò Pavese in Lombardy is its rightful home) with records of vineyard plantings dating back as far as 1246. Best known and most planted in its dark-skinned iteration (there is a white version of the grape called Barbera Bianca), the world's top Barberas come from Piedmont's Alba, Asti and Monferrato DOCs and styles can vary significantly depending on climate and soil. But you can always count on Barbera for its distinct ruby red color, vibrant acidity and mild tannins. Juicy red fruit and hints of smokiness are also common characteristics. Grown elsewhere in Italy, Barbera is used in varietal wines and as a blending grape to varying degrees of success. Outside of Italy it has also been planted extensively in North and South America, but most successfully in California, where it was planted by Italian immigrants and long, warm growing seasons give this late-harvest varietal the chance to develop complex flavors to compete with its racy acidity.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.8