About the Vineyards

The vineyards showcased here represent varietals primarily from the noted vineyards in California, Washington state and Spain. Watch for these and many more offerings from Barons Creek Vineyards.

Whites

Chenin Blanc

Varietal type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Yellow-green
AKA’s: Chenin, Pineau de la Loire, Pineau d’Anjou, Steen

Chenin Blanc is classic white varietal from Angers, responsible for the famous white wines of the Loire River valley in France, including Vouvray, Savennieres, and Quarts de Chaume among others.There is evidence to support the grape having been cultivated in the region since 845 AD before spreading to neighboring areas. It is a principal varietal of the Loire region. Wines produced from the Chenin Blanc may be either dry or semi-dry depending on autumn harvest weather and vinification methods. Also grown successfully in California and Texas, the varietal did not emerge in the U.S. until after World War II.

Chenin Blanc is a productive variety that yields fresh and attractive wines, containing moderately good acid, frequently with an agreeable note of sweetness, redolent of white flowers, straw, and honey. It is also produced as a dessert wine known as Moelleux, a botrytis affected late-harvest wine.


Pinot Grigio

Varietal type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Pink- or blue-gray
AKA’s: Pinot grigio, Pinot burot, Gris Cordelier, Malvoisie, Rulander, Grauer Burgunder, Szurkebarat

Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Gris as it is called in France, is widely planted throughout France, Italy, Germany, and most of Europe under its various names, as well as Argentina’s Mendoza area. It a cousin to Pinot Noir and one of the darker skinned of the white varietals, varying from grayish to reddish berries.

Pinot Grigio produces a wine that is often soft and perfumed, although it may have a slight spiciness to it, and it has more color than most white wines due to the pigmentation in its skins. The wines are often characterized as refreshing with moderate to low acidity combined with a sometimes oily texture that can contribute to a more full-bodied mouth feel.


Roussanne

Varietal type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Yellow-green
AKAs: Barbin, Bergeron, Martin Cot, Fromental, Fromental jaune, Fromenteua, Rebolot, Babellot, Ramoulette, Remoulette, Greffou, Picotin blanc, Courtoisie

While no one is entirely certain of the origins of Roussanne it is widely accepted as coming from the middle Rhône and Isere valleys in France. Most of the world’s Roussanne is used as a blending varietal, either with Marsanne or Grenache Blanc, although it is often a wonderful substitute for chardonnay as it never gets as fat as some domestic chardonnay can. It is planted throughout the Rhône Valley, used in the remarkable wines of Hermitage and Savoy, as well as the whites of the Cotes-du-Rhone. It has gained a strong foothold in the United States and is also planted in Italy and Australia.

Roussanne can produce beautiful single varietal wine or be blended, and it can be produced as a still or sparkling wine. The grape yields a wine that can be floral and honeyed, often with mild apricot notes, and sometimes mineralic or steely depending on vinification techniques. The wine can be fermented in stainless steel, can stand up to barreling, and can also be quite long-lived.


Viognier

Varietal type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Green
AKAs: Bergeron, Barbin, Rebolot, Greffou, Picotin Blanc, Vionnier, Petiti Vionnier, Viogne, Galopine, Vugava bijela

Viognier hails from the Rhône Valley area in Southern France, predominantly from the AOC’s of Condrieu and Château-Grillet. There is some thought that this varietal was originally imported to France by the Roman emperors from Croatia where it is called Vugava bijela. Viognier production has increased around the globe, including the western United States and Texas, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa..

Viognier produces quite aromatic and fragrant wines, typified by peach and passion fruit on the nose, with good acidity, exceptional tannic structure for so fragrant a white, and usually high alcohol. The best Viognier are made simply and austerely, usually fermented in stainless steel or stone before being bottles without wood contact. Viognier is often blended with red Rhone varietals where it actually serves to amplify the structure, fragrance and elegance of the wines. Some of the Viognier produced in Condrieu and Château-Grillet are examples of the best and most sought after whites in the world.


Reds

Barbera

Varietal Type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Black

Barbera is the second most widely planted grape in Italy after Sangiovese, particularly in the Piemonte where it is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato. Evidence suggests it has been cultivated in the area dating back to the thirteenth century. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scores of Italian immigrants brought Barbera along with them on their journeys to the Americas.

John Doyle first imported the grape into California and produced his first Barbera vintage in 1884 from vines planted in Cupertino. It had been used as a blending grape in California for quite some time, however did not regain popularity after Prohibition until the ‘70s and ‘80s, and there is recently renewed interest in Barbera as a single varietal wine.

Barbera creates a beautiful light to medium bodied wine, is similar in weight to Pinot Noir, and is a new favorite of winemakers as it is not nearly as finicky to produce as Pinot Noir. Flavors of cherries and red and black fruits are accompanied by scents of violet, lavender and spice, yielding a wine to simply sit and sip.


Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal Type:Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Blue-black
AKA’s: Petite Cabernet, Vidure, Petite-Vidure, Bouche, Petite-Bouche, Bouchet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Rouge, Burdeos Tintos

Arguably the most famous red wine grape in the world, very few people realize that Cabernet Sauvignon is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is also the most planted wine varietal of any color and has become a mainstay on virtually every table, shelf, and wine list around the globe. True to the phrase that big things come in small packages, the small Cabernet Sauvignon grape, with its dark thick skins, is capable of producing some of the most full bodied wines made. One of the most important varietals in France, particularly in Bordeaux, this grape is planted widely throughout nearly every major wine producing area including Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.

Cabernet Sauvignon is used primarily for high to mid quality, dry wine, almost equally divided into the camps of single varietal wine and blended table wines. Small amounts may be blended into less stout varietals to give more structure, firmness and color. The classic Cabernet Sauvignon is typified by full bodied age-worthy wines of high tannin and good acidity, with flavors running the gamut from black currant and green pepper to mint and cedar to hints of menthol and eucalyptus.


Grenache

Varietal Type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Purple
Common synonyms: Garnacha, Grenache noir, Cannonao, Cannonaddu, Granaccia, Alicante

Originating in the northern Spanish area of Aragon under the name Garnacha, Grenache is the second most widely planted wine grape varietal in the world, vastly planted on more vineyard land than any other grape aside from Airén, a white Spanish varietal.

Grenache was first planted in France in the Languedoc region and quickly moved into the southern areas of the Rhône Valley. Grenache is a tremendous blending varietal, and carries the weight for several of the world’s heavy hitting wines, including Priorat and the highly prized wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In the southern Rhône, Grenache is typically blended with Syrah and several other varietals to produce simple table wines known as Cotes-du-Rhône. Grenache throughout the world can also produce stunning rosé wines, by itself or vinified with other grapes. Grenache is also a major player in Australia, where it is commonly blended with Syrah and Mourvedre, to produce the Australian creation GSM.

The key to Grenache’s success lies in its balance of delivering very ripe fruit alongside mouthwatering tannic structure.


Sangiovese

Varietal Type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Blue-black
Common synonyms: Sangiovese Grosso, Sangiovese Piccolo, Prugnolo Gentile

Sangiovese is the most widely planted varietal in Italy (accounting for roughly 10 percent of total acres planted) and the driving force in Chianti in Tuscany, where the grape’s ancient origins are thought to be found. It is also found in the Mendoza region of Argentina, California, Australia, and has found its way into Texas and New Mexico. It is widely accepted that the varietal was first brought into California in the middle of the 1800’s.

A truly unique varietal, Sangiovese (literally translated as “Blood of Jove”) can range in style from lighter more fruit-driven wines, sometimes akin to Pinot Noir, to true full bodied reds that satisfy even the most robust palette. This powerhouse varietal, while usually landing in the middle of medium to full bodied wines, has given rise to an increasingly popular style of wine called “Super Tuscans”, where it is blended with other non-traditional Italian varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot to name just a few.


Syrah

Varietal Type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Blue-black
AKA’s: Shiraz, Sirah, Syra, Schiras, Sirac, Syrac, Petite Syras

Quite a bit of speculation has been done about the origins of Syrah, a varietal as shrouded in myth as are the mythic proportions of the wines it creates. It has been said that the grape came from various places, including the Middle East, Gaul, Sicily, and Syrah Island in Greece. With the advent of DNA analysis of grape varietals, we now know that Syrah is a hybrid of two French varietals, Mondeuse Blanche and Dureza, both originating in the Rhône Valley.

Considered by many a very versatile varietal, a veritable weed grape if you will, Syrah adapts very well to a broad range of climates, winemaking techniques, and styles of wine. Produced as a stand-alone varietal, Syrah can produce softer elegant wines of finesse, and can also turn into heady full bodied wines of power and extraction. In blended wines, Syrah provides a framework of fragrant structure and blue fruited weight that brings its unique varietal temperament to play alongside such varietals as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Zinfandel and other traditional Rhone blends.


Tempranillo

Varietal Type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Blue-black
AKA’s: Valdepenas, Tinta Roriz, Aragonez, Tempranillo de la Rioja, Tinto de la Rioja, Tinto del Pais, Grenache de Logrono, Jacivera, Tinto de Toro, Tinto Madrid, Cencibel, Tinto Fino Ull de Llebre, Ojo de Liebre

Native to Spain, Tempranillo is the primary varietal used in producing the classic Spanish red wine Rioja. Considered to be Spain’s noble red varietal, it has been grown and cultivated in Iberia since the age of Phoenician settlements. The Tempranillo grape has been planted around the world, and has recently gained a strong foothold in Texas.

Tempranillo typically produces high quality wine with ruby red color that becomes tinged with brick or ruddy orange as it ages. Medium to full bodied depending on its barrel ageing regimen, Tempranillo has thinner skins than some of its full bodied counterparts and takes to barrel ageing quite well. It tends to be a long lived wine, yielding flavors of leather alongside of cherries, and can be quite tannic in some New World editions. Fitting right in between Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, it serves to be a great accompaniment to your cellar.


Zinfandel

Varietal Type: Vitis vinifera
Grape color: Blue-black
Common synonyms: Primitivo, Crljenak Kasteljanski

Steeped in controversy and mystery, Zinfandel is called by this name in California only. Once thought to be “California’s grape” or “America’s grape”, there is much evidence to support the origins of this varietal lie elsewhere. Theories exist that it comes from Hungary; or that it was originally developed as a table grape in the Northeast; recently it has been shown through DNA testing to be identical to Primitivo, a varietal native to Puglia in the south of Italy, at the heel of the boot. No one really knows whence it came and how it got to California by the middle 1800’s, at which time it began to eclipse the popular Mission varietal.

Zinfandel can produce wines of bold intensity or can be much lighter bodied and fruit driven, depending on the winemaker’s hand. It can be absolutely striking as a single varietal and also blends well with other varietals to create exceptional table wine. It is a chameleon of sorts, much like the mystery of its historical past.