who grows the grapes? who sells the wine?
We would suggest without hyperbole that if a Mt. Rushmore of American Wine were ever to be carved into the side of a cliff, that Charlie’s deceptively impish grin deserves a place in the pantheon. His life’s work includes contributions to the creation of the first American appellation, innovative uses of run-off water that drastically reduces waste, and myriad technical advances now used worldwide for grape farming that have made him the Pioneer that this wine honors.
Pioneer is a wine that the Barra’s make in an exclusive collaboration with Standard Market and Bakersfield of Westmont, Illinois and the 2011 vintage is the first release. Leaders of the Standard Market wine team traveled to Mendocino to taste from diverse barrel samples before the Barra’s created the final blend. In addition to Bakersfield and the Market, Pioneer will be available at the Standard Grill, opening in Lakeview this summer.
what is Pioneer Cabernet Sauvignon?
Each vintage of Pioneer will by definition be limited. Every grape in Pioneer was grown on the Barra’s farm and as such, the wine is limited to a few hundred cases per year and it will be available while supplies last.
when did the winery start? when was Pioneer born?
The idea for Pioneer was born when Sam McDaniel and the team at Standard Market reached out to the Barra Family in 2012 about the possibility of collaborating on a domestic wine with a sense of place and integrity which of course, would also be delicious as a compliment to myriad foods at the Market and at Bakersfield. After tasting possible blends as a team in California and then revisiting them in Westmont, the Standard Market team settled on the blend (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% old vine Petite Sirah). Once blended, the wine rested at the winery to develop until it’s bottling just a few weeks before coming to Illinois for it’s launch on July 26, 2013.
where is the winery? where can you find Pioneer?
The Petite Sirah is from the Barra’s “Bella Colina” Vineyard, as can be seen in the video embedded in the slideshow, adds more than one might expect with only 5% in the blend.
why might you want a taste?
The Barra’s never embraced the race for points and alcohol. Their dedication to the fruit first simply runs counter to the idea of picking anything that is overripe, to manipulation in the winery, and to masking the flavors of the grapes they’ve grown in oak. We’ve found that the wines live gracefully for a decade after harvest.
how is it made?
Pioneer reflects all of this, with the added twist that the team at Standard Market had a say in the final blend, deciding which combination of the Barra’s fruit they thought would work best for their customer base in Illinois.