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The wines of Bonterra, California

Bonterra Vineyards, 2231 McNab Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482, USA
Website: http://www.bonterra.com/

The ‘back to nature’-style Bonterra label is a familiar sight on UK retailer shelves: these wines are widely distributed through supermarkets and high street merchants (visit http://www.bonterra.com/uk_availability.html to see details of UK availability). They are made from organically grown grapes, mainly sourced from northern California.

Priced in the £8–12 range these wines are sort of a half-way house between the cheap Californian brands and the high-end estate wines. The quality is solid, and these are better than most other California wines at this price point. On this showing, the consistency is admirable for such widely available wines.

see also: a more recent report (May 2006) on Bonterra's first biodynamic wine from the McNab ranch

Bonterra White 2002 California
This is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat, and is a new entry level wine for Bonterra. Fresh, crisp, fruity nose. The palate is fresh and grapey. A nice commercial style. Very good+ 85/100

Bonterra Roussanne 2001 Lake View Vineyard, Mendocino, California
Interesting floral, spicy nose is quite aromatic. Lovely softly textured, rich palate with good acidity. Lots of interest here from this white Rhône grape. Very good+ 88/100

Bonterra Viognier 2001 Mendocino, California
Very appealing herby, floral nose shows good varietal character. Lovely concentration on the palate with a touch of oak giving complexity. Nice balance here. Very good+ 89/100

Bonterra Chardonnay 2001 Mendocino, California
Lovely rich, almost over-the-top style with lots of tropical fruit, and well integrated but prominent spicy oak. Very good+ 88/100

Bonterra Muscat 2001 Bartolucci Vineyard, Lake County, California
Nice fresh, sweet grapey nose. Lovely balance on the palate with grapey, almost spicy flavours. Quite sweet with good acidity. Very good+ 86/100

Bonterra Red 2002 California
This entry-level red is a blend of Shiraz, Carignan and Sangiovese. Bright, cherryish fruit on the nose with a herby, juicy, berry fruit palate. Nice commercial style for easy drinking. Very good 84/100

Bonterra Sangiovese 2000 Mendocino, California
Vivid spicy berry fruit nose leads to a midweight savoury, spicy palate. Finishes with spicy tannins. Midweight and appealing with good acidity. Very good+ 85/100

Bonterra Merlot 2000 Mendocino, California
Ripe berry and blackfruit nose with a spicy, tarry edge. Some spicy tannins provide the structure here. Nice concentration to this savoury wine which is drinking well now. Very good+ 87/100

Bonterra Zinfandel 2000 Mendocino, California
Nice spicy berry fruit nose is quite forward. Leads to a lovely herby spicy palate with lots of character. Very good+ 88/100

Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 North Coast, California
Quite an evolved, elegant nose showing herby, minerally berry fruit. The lovely savoury, structured palate is quite elegant. Very good+ 89/100

Bonterra Syrah 2000 Mendocino, California
Appealing spicy berry fruit dominates here with a slightly tarry character and good acidity. Juicy and vivid. Very good+ 86/100  

wines tasted May 2003

see also: tasting notes of USA wines

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