Saracina Vineyards in Mendocino County, just north of Hopland, was founded in 2001 by John Fetzer of the Fetzer wine family and his wife, Patty Rock. Fetzer’s parents had founded Fetzer Vineyards (now owned by Chile’s Concha y Toro), and Saracina was developed on the site of the former Sundial Ranch (as in the old Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay). Marc Taub of Taub Family Selections, which represents a portfolio of imported wines and its own California estates, acquired the Saracina brand and much of the property in 2018.
Winemaker Alex MacGregor, who joined Saracina in 2002, made this beauty of an unoaked chardonnay. It was a star of a recent Zoom tasting of several releases from the winery.
Inland Mendocino County isn’t generally thought of as chardonnay country. That label would more often be applied to a cooler spot in the county, like the Anderson Valley. But the diurnal temperature shifts at Saracina are huge, leaving the grapes with good natural acidity. And the wine doesn’t undergo any malolactic fermentation, which also preserves that raciness.
The 2019 Saracina Unoaked Chardonnay ($23), whose fruit comes from 40-year-old vines, is zippy, refreshing and persistent, with pure fruit flavors of apple and a hint of grapefruit. A great wine for summer sipping (or gulping).