This Pinot Blanc is one of the top inexpensive white wine values from California — a $15 bargain that all but demands that you order a case from the winery to have on hand as your house white to enjoy on its own or with all kinds of foods, from fish and chicken to pad Thai and pizza.
Girasole Vineyards is in Mendocino County, one of California’s northernmost wine regions, where you can find excellent wines for everyday drinking at prices well below those of more famous regions to the south like Sonoma and Napa.
Mendocino is known for its organic grape production, and the Barra family, which owns Girasole and its sister winery, Barra of Mendocino, farms more than 300 acres of certified organic vineyards. The practice itself, of course, does not guarantee that the wines will be memorable, and plenty of them in this price range are reliable at best.
But Girasole’s 2020 Pinot Blanc rises well above the pack. Crisp and delightful, this non-oaked wine reveals notes of apple, pear, apricot, and lemon-lime, with floral and herbal hints. There’s a touch of cream on the finish. With alcohol listed at 13 percent, this is a medium-bodied and versatile white wine. Pinot Blanc, a popular variety in France’s Alsace and Italy’s Alto Adige, is relatively rare in California but shows beautifully in Girasole’s wine.
The winery’s roots go back to 1955, when founder Charlie Barra planted the vineyard that is still its centerpiece. For decades, it was a supplier of grapes to other wineries, establishing the Barra of Mendocino winery in 1997 and Girasole Vineyards in 2001.