Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ravenswood Winery – Sonoma, California




Being uniquely a California grape, although it is a near relative to Primativio in Puglia Italy and  Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidr in Croatia, it has its own cult following with a yearly festival sponsored by Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP). When it comes to major producers of this unofficial grape of the state of California there are 3 BIG “R”s – Rosenblum Winery in Alameda, Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino and RAVENSWOOD Winery in Sonoma. In fact, some Zin Fanatics even go so far as to have the Ravenswood logo tattooed on their body!


Ravenswood Winery was founded by Joel Peterson who began his venture as a microbiologist by trade and a part-time winemaker. For the first 15 years of the winery, he earned his living working in the clinical laboratory at Sonoma Valley Hospital from 1977 through 1992. But, he has been into wine since he was 10 years old as his father had asked him to take tasting notes for his parents’ East Bay wine tasting group. Two decades later in 1976, at the age of 29, he and business partner Reed Foster, founded Ravenswood with $4,000, no vineyards or no winery and only voluntary help from friends for labor.

Though Zinfandel was not well regarded in 1976, Joel was interested in it from the beginning as he had worked with Joseph Swan to make five vintages of Zinfandel. Convinced that older vines planted in the right terroir are an important part of making great wines, the only grape that met the criteria at the time was Zinfandel.


In 1999 the winery went public and two years later Ravenswood was bought by Constellation Brands (who also purchased Robert Mondavi Winery) for $148 million. Peterson was the largest stockholder which resulted in him becoming a winemaker-turned-multimillionaire which is a rarity in the wine world as most large wineries are the result of multimillionaires-turned-winemakers. After the winery was sold, rather than retiring or starting over with a new small winery (as did the Mondavis after their family winery was bought by Constellation), Joel became a senior vice president what is now the world’s largest wine company and he continues to serve as Ravenswood’s head winemaker.

In five years, Constellation has more than doubled Ravenswood’s production and can now be found nationwide in supermarket. Although their slogan “no wimpy wines” still excludes White Zinfandel, they now produce a Chardonnay as well as a dry and sweet Gewürztraminer.

The Vintners Blend, which may include juice from anywhere in the state, makes up about 80% of the nearly 1 million cases of wine and has become a mass-market phenomenon that sell for around $11 per bottle and they are on the lowest level of Ravenswood’s three-tier system. The mid-level consists of county appellation wines such as the Ravenswood Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. These cost $15 - $20 and are generally a high quality than the Vintners Blend wines. At the top-level are the single-vineyard wines, which range from $25 - $60 for the Old Hill Sonoma Valley Zinfandel.


The Wines

While visiting the tasting room I sampled the following wines:

My first sample was the 2011 Earl Harvest Gewürztraminer. This displays aromas of pronounced SPICE, white pepper, apricots, melon, and Asian pear. On the palate it very dry, very spicy and crisp with high acidity. It is light boded and a prolonged finish with notes of grapefruit pith. Although the name Gewürztraminer means “Spice Traminer” and characteristically most have a certain amount of spiciness to them, I have never experienced one that was this pronounced. Tasted blind it could be mistaken for Grüner Veltliner. If you’re looking for a Gewürztraminer that isn’t super floral and fruity as more Californians tend to be, then this one is for you. This wine sells for $20 per bottle.

The second pour was the 2012 Sangiacomo Chardonnay - Carneros.  This wine spent eight months in French oak with no Malolactic fermentation, and three months sur lie aging. This displays aromas of subtle pears, apples, white flowers and a hint of nuts. On the palate it is medium bodied and crisp with medium+ acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $25 per bottle.

The third wine was the 2012 Rosato, a rosé made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Zinfandel. It is light strawberry pink in color and displays aromas of tart strawberries, cranberries and watermelon rind. On the palate it is dry with high acidity and a long finish. This wine sells for $22 per bottle.

The fourth sample was the 2011 Barricia Zinfandel - Sonoma Valley. This wine is a blend of 76% Zinfandel and 24% Petite Sirah. It was aged 20 months in 100% French barrels, 33% new.  This displays aromas of dusty raspberries, black pepper, bramble bush, leather, cinnamon stick and spice. On the palate it is full bodied with BIG chewy tannins, ample acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $35 per bottle.

The fifth pour was the 2011 Big River Zinfandel – Alexander Valley. It was aged 20 months in 100% French barrels, 35% new. This wine is clear and bright ruby red and stains the glass when swirled. On the nose it has medium intense aromas of raisins, plums, blackberry jam, and caramel with hints of vanilla and smoke. On the palate it has firm tannins, is full bodied and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $35 per bottle.

The sixth wine was the 2011 Cooke Zinfandel – Sonoma. This wine displays aromas of fresh cracked pepper, reduced berry juice, very dense and concentrated blackberries and raspberries, and notes of vanilla bean with a very distinct minerality in the background. On the palate it has a medium body, medium acidity wine and a medium length finish. Unfortunately the black pepper dominates the fruit on this wine on the palate. This wine sells for $35 per bottle.

The seventh pour was the 2011 Teldeschi Zinfandel – Dry Creek. This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignan. This wine is bright, clear ruby red and stains the glass when swirled. On the nose it displays aromas of dark plums, raisins, dry earth, vanilla bean and a hint of smoke. On the palate it is very dry with robust medium+ tannins, medium acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $35 per bottle.

The eighth and final pour was the 2010 Icon Zinfandel – Sonoma Valley. This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet. On the nose this wine is uniquely floral with aromas of roses followed by raspberries, dried dark fruits and spice. On the palate it is dry with medium+ tannins, medium acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $75 per bottle.


To visit or for more information:

Ravenswood Winery
18701 Gehricke Road
Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: 1-707-933-2332

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bello Family Vineyards – St. Helena, California


Bello Family Vineyards is an “under the radar” boutique winery with a tasting room located along highway 29 that has an understated exterior with an over-the-top Las Vegas-like interior design. The 5 acres of vineyards are located at the family home in Rutherford and are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Petite Verdot. They only produce around 5,000 cases of wine from this vineyard as well as from fruit sourced from other premium vineyards in the Napa Valley.


The Founder



The winery was founded by Michael Bello. Like many others who have founded a winery in the Napa Valley, he didn’t make his money from making wine. There is an old saying in the valley, “If you want to make a small fortune in the wine business you need to start with a large fortune.” It is not uncommon for people to spend tens of thousands of dollars, if not millions, on starting a winery and have to wait at least 5-10 years before they see any return on their investment. People go into wine making not to make money per se, but because they have a love and passion for wine. 



This is true for Michael Bello as well. His fortune was made in Orange County in Southern California where he founded Bello Construction Co., a successful residential home subcontracting business. But he had two passions he wanted to pursue: to make world class wine and get into the horse racing business. He began to take steps towards the former of these two interests in 2000 when he purchased a piece of premium vineyard real estate in Rutherford. Soon after, he built a beautiful French styled farmhouse and began to plan on making wine. 




Michael has been involved in horse racing for many years but in 2001 he purchased a horse that would go on to much success, a Thoroughbred racehorse named Megahertz. This horse became a winner from her first race in the USA in 2002 at Santa Anita Park and would ultimately win 14 races before retiring. Today, Michael remains heavily involved in horse racing and owns a number of race horses. The room showcases Megahertz, Bello’s champion race horse, his awards and a large screen TV screen allows visitors to watch horse races. The fame of Megahertz now lives on as of the Cabernets bears his name today.



The Winemaker



While the farmhouse was being built Michael forged a relationship winemaker Aaron Pott who has an extensive history as a winemaker in the Napa Valley and France.



After graduating from U.C. Davis Aaron worked at Newton Vineyard in Napa Valley. He then became the head winemaker at Château Troplong-Mondot, a Premier Grand Cru Classé in Saint-Émilion, France. A year later he became the head winemaker at Château La Tour Figeac, a Grand Cru Classé located in Saint-Emilion. During the next five years he earned a degree in Viticulture from the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France. Six years later Aaron returned to the United States and became the head winemaker in charge of international brands for Beringer Wine Estates of the Napa Valley. In 2004, he accepted a position as winemaker and general manager at Quintessa Estate in the Napa Valley.[1]

In 2007, Aaron and his wife Claire founded Pott Wine, producing wine from their 76-acre vineyard property on Mt. Veeder. In addition to serving Bello Family Vineyards he is also a consulting winemaker for numerous other Napa Valley wineries including Quixote Winery, Stagecoach Vineyard, Blackbird Vineyards, Seven Stones Winery, Fisher Vineyards, and Jericho Canyon Vineyard.



In recognition for his achievements, in 2012 Aaron Pott was named “Winemaker of the Year” in the November issue of Food and Wine Magazine.[2]


The Vineyard Manager



In addition to Aaron Pott serving as winemaker, Michael Bello also acquired the services of vineyard manager David Abreu. David Abreu is a third generation native of the Napa Valley. David grew up in Rutherford in a farming family. Starting at an early age, David worked during the summers at Inglenook and Caymus vineyard. Eventually his interest in viticulture led him to farm and manage several properties on his own. Then in 1980 he founded David Abreu Vineyard Management, Inc. and developed the Madrona Ranch vineyard. In 1986 David produced his first wine from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc at Madrona Ranch. His first commercial release was with the 1987 Abreu Madrona Ranch.[3]

The Wines



The first Bello Family Vineyards vintage was 2004, and today their production has reached 5,000 cases per year. Some of the grapes that are used in the making of Bello’s wines come from the estate, while others are sourced from other premium vineyards in the valley. 

While visiting I sampled the following wines:



My first sample was the 2012 Oliver Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has an explosive nose with pronounced aromas of white flowers, tropical fruits, mandarin oranges, dried apricots, ripe grapefruit and lemon zest. On the palate it is very crisp, medium bodied with a prolonged finish. This wine typifies a Sauv Blanc from a warmer climate than Sancere or New Zealand as it is more on the tropical and stone fruit side of the aroma spectrum than the grassy and herbal side that is typical of cool climate wines. I brought home a bottle of this for $34.



The second pour was the 2011 Chardonnay, Carneros.  This wine was fermented on indigenous yeast in French Oak Barrels, underwent full malolactic fermentation and was left sur lies during the 20 month aging process. On the nose this wine has medium intense aromas of fresh peaches, creamy butter, caramel, and butterscotch. On the palate this wine is very rich and creamy, full bodied and crisp acidity with subtle notes of hazelnut and marshmallows on a prolonged finish. This is a well-balanced “California style” wine that sells for $45 per bottle.




The third pour and first red wine was the 2009 Megahertz Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is 100% Cab made from a blend of grapes from four different Napa Valley AVAs – St. Helena, Rutherford, Atlas Peak, and Mt. Veeder. On the nose it has pronounced aromas of cassis, dark cherries, and subtle hints of mocha and dusty earth. On the palate it is soft and supple on entry, very delicious, full-bodied with refined tannins, mouth-watering acidity and a long finish. This wine sells for $50 per bottle.



The fourth wine was the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose this wine displays aromas of black fruits, cassis, blackberry compote and a hint of smoke. On the palate it has firm tannins, it is full bodied with medium acidity and a little heat on a medium length finish. This wine sells for $50 per bottle



The fifth pour was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is lighter in color than the previous Cabs and on the nose it has medium intense aromas of raspberries, red currants with a hint of black pepper and anise.  On the palate is velvety on entry and mid palate with supple refined tannins, medium body, high acidity and a medium+ length finish. This wine is definitely “drink now” and although I wouldn’t expect it to improve with age, but it could be cellared for 1-3 years. This wine sells for $100 per bottle.




To visit or for more information:



Bello Family Vineyards

929 Main Street

St. Helena, CA 94574

Phone: 1-70-967-8833



[1] http://pottwine.com/aaron
[2] http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/winemakers-of-the-year-2012
[3] http://abreuvineyard.com/abreuvineyard.html

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pine Ridge Vineyards – Napa, California





Pine Ridge Vineyards is a unique winery along the Silverado Trail. Whereas most of the hillside wineries on the trail are along with east hills facing west, Pine Ridge is on the west side facing east tucked into a hillside surrounded by terraced sloped vineyards.



The winery was founded in 1978 by Gary Andrus who had been an Olympic skier and was a downhill racer on the United States Ski Team. He earned a degree in organic chemistry from Brigham Young University in organic chemistry, a Master Degree from Oregon State University and a PhD in Oenology at the University of Montpelier, France. Before founding Pine Ridge he worked in Bordeaux. 




Later he founded Archery Summit in the Dundee Hills in Dayton Oregon in 1995 with his first wife and then in 2002 he founded Gypsy Dancer Estates in Cornelius Oregon with his second wife. Gary was a leader in the move to stress the importance of appellations in America, in particular for the Stags Leap District AVA, where Pine Ridge is located. Sadly Gary died on January 30, 2009 from complications from pneumonia at the age of 63. But the winery he founded continues to flourish.  




After the winery was established Pine Ridge continued to acquire exceptional vineyard sites across the Napa Valley to eventually include 200-acres in five different AVAs including the Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Oakville, Carneros and Howell Mountain.




Dug deep into the hillside, Pine Ridge has a 34,000 square foot wine cave which maintains ideal temperature and humidity for aging their wines. Across from the tasting room and wine cave is the demonstration vineyard with a vine-covered gazebo which provides guests the opportunity to learn about the types of vine trellising systems and when available taste the grapes. Outside the tasting room there is a patio with and comfortable outdoor lounge and a picnic area.





While visiting I sampled the following wines:



My first sample was the 2011 Le Petit Clos Chardonnay.  Most Chards from the Napa Valley are derived from vineyards in the southern region of Los Carneros or Coombsville which benefit from the cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay. This wine, however, comes from the Le Petit Clos (“the little enclosure”) vineyard which is on their Silverado estate property but at a higher elevation and is sheltered from the heat by the surrounding forest. The wine was fermented in 50% new French oak barrels, aged for seven months sur lie, stirred occasionally and yet without going through malolactic fermentation. On the nose I picked up lemon custard, tart green apples, almonds, tangerines, dried apricots and a hint of nuts on the back end. On the palate it is crisp with high acidity, medium bodied, it is well balanced and very complex with a long finish. If you don’t want a butterball Chardonnay nor one that is too austere (as are many all-stainless Chards) then this wine is for you. This wine sells for $65 per bottle




The second pour was the 2009 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 94% Cab and 4% Petite Verdot. This wine was fermented in tank and then aged in 55% new French oak barrels for 18 months. This wine is dark ruby red and it stains the glass when swirled. On the nose I picked up pronounced plums, black cherries, black berries, red currants, spice and a hint of vanilla. On the palate it is soft on entry and then the tannins grip the teeth and gums. It is medium bodied with medium acidity and a medium length finish. Although it is enjoyable now the tannins are fairly aggressive after the initial entry so it will undoubtedly age well over the next decade or so. This wine sells for $80 per bottle.



The third sample was the 2009 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon which is really a Meritage blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. After fermentation was completed, this wine was place into 60% new French oak barrels for aging.  On the nose I picked up dusty cherries (the signature of Rutherford terroir), black currants, mocha, roasted coffee, and vanilla bean. On the palate it has refined tannins, is medium bodied and has a medium+ length finish. It is well balanced and layered and although it is very drinkable now it will continue to age well for the next ten years. I thought this wine was the most complex in the line-up so I brought one home for $80.



The fourth wine was the 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was fermented in 50% new French oak and aged in barrel for 18 months. This wine is black at the core to violet at the rim. On the nose it typifies mountain fruit with concentrated layers of black licorice, black currants, wild blackberries, and a hint of mint and black pepper. On the palate it is soft on entry, medium bodied with ample acidity and a prolonged finish. This wine sells for $90 per bottle.



The fifth pour was the 2010 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Malbec. This wine was fermented in 50% new French oak and aged in barrel for 18 months. On the nose I picked up smoky bacon, dark chocolate, black tea, black currants, wild blackberries and a hint of black pepper. On the palate it has velvety tannins, it is medium bodied and has a lingering finish. This wine sells for $85 per bottle.




The sixth pour was the 2006 Andrus Reserve “Red Wine.” On the nose this wine is earthier than the previous wines and it displays subtle aromas of wild blackberries, black licorice, smoke and black pepper. On the palate it is soft on entry and then the tannins take a firm grip but then it transitions to velvet on the mid palate. It is medium bodied with ample acidity and a medium length finish with dark cherries on the return. This wine sells for $129 per bottle.



The seventh wine was the 2009 FORTIS Cabernet Sauvignon.  After fermentation was completed, this wine was place into 60% new French oak barrels for aging. On the nose this wine displays subtle aromas of black figs, dried roses, wild blackberries, black tea and vanilla bean. On the palate it has gripping tannins, a medium body, ample acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $150 per bottle.


To see more pictures of Pine Ridge Vineyards, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:






To visit or for more information:



Pine Ridge Vineyards

5901 Silverado Trail

Napa, CA 94559

Phone: 1-800-575-9777

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Phillips Hill Winery – Elk, California

Phillips Hill Winery is located on Greenwood Ridge, west of Anderson Valley in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. In 1997 Toby Hill purchased 30 acres 5 years later the winery founded in 2002. Toby is an artist-turned-winemaker who has a BFA from California College of the Arts. Previously he was a practicing artist in New York and then worked as Architectural Color and Plaster business owner in San Francisco. His venture as an artistic winemaker began when a local winemaker decided not to begin a brand and offered him 4 barrels of an unfinished 2002 vintage of Pinot Noir from Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche, Mendocino. Currently Toby sources grapes from local vineyards close to his home and winery but soon he will be farming his established estate vineyard.



Toby is joined by sommelier Natacha Durandet from the Loire Valley Region of France. She also serves as hospitality director and sales consultant for Violet-Green Winery. Her previous experience working as a sommelier at The Broadmoor Hotel (January 1994  January 1998), a Sommelier at The Wine Cellar / Napa Restaurant at The Rio Hotel (January 1998  January 2002) and Hospitality Director /Direct Sales at Ponzi Vineyards (January 2003  January 2009).

The Apple Dryer Barn and Tasting Room



The winery and tasting room is located in a very rustic 100+ year old apple dryer barn. It was originally owned by the Day family in the 1880s. Before modern means of transporting fresh fruit apples were dried on site and transported to port by way of buckboard. They were then shipped out to communities along the Pacific coast. Subsequently the 53-acre ranch was used to raise sheep as well as grow apples, pears and grapes. Then in the 1970s the Oswald family, who had been farming in Mendocino County for over two decades the ranch and planted over 100 acres Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The Wines





The tasting room is located at the weathered redwood barn and is surrounded by antique apple drying equipment and a remnant of a small apple and pear orchard. While visiting I sampled the following wines:

The first wine was the 2012 Chardonnay, Ridley Vineyard – Anderson Valley. This wine is clear, almost water-white with aromas of apricots, granny smith apples, with a hint of melon and wet stone. On the palate it is fairly light with medium- body, but very crisp medium+ acidity and a long finish. A well-balanced wine. If you prefer non-oaky buttery wines then you’ll like this one. It sells for $30 per bottle.

The second pour was the 2012 Gewürztraminer – Valley Foothills Vineyard. On the nose this wine displays aromas of lychee, melon rind, lemon-lime, ripe apples, green tea and spice. On the palate it has additional notes of intense apricots, it is light bodied with high acidity and a medium+ length finish. I brought a bottle home for $20.


The third wine was the 2011 Boontling Pinot Noir – Anderson Valley. This wine is light ruby red with subtle aromas of strawberries, raspberries, and subtle herbal notes. On the nose it is crisp with tart fruit, medium- in body and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $25 per bottle.

The final sample was the 2009 Wiley Vineyard Pinot Noir – Anderson Valley. On the nose this wine has aromas of strawberries, cherries, spice and a touch of smoke. On the palate it is light bodied with medium+ acidity and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $38 per bottle.



To visit or for more information:

Phillips Hill Winery

25690 Philo Greenwood Road

Elk, CA 95432

Phone: 1-707-895-2209

http://phillipshill.com/

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Navarro Vineyards and Winery – Philo, California




Navarro Vineyards and Winery is located in the town of Philo, about 2 hours north of San Francisco in the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. It is a quaint and rustic town situated along Indian Creek as it flows into the Navarro River, from which the winery derives its name. Philo has wet winters and moderately warm dry summers with 52 inches of rain per year, about 10 inches of snowfall and an average high temperature in the middle of July around 93 degrees. The surrounding hills are heavily wooded. In all of California it probably has the closest climate to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. If I were looking to start a winery that focuses on Pinot Noir, this is where I’d go and I suspect it will be the next big “hot spot” for Pinotfiles.

The Founders and History

In 1973 Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn founded Navarro Vineyards and Winery when they purchased a 900-acre sheep ranch. The following year they began planting Alsatian white varietals such Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling along with 5 acres of Pinot Noir (UCD-4) on one rootstock. Before starting the winery Ted was a vice president for CBS and Deborah was a graduate student of literature at the University of California, Berkeley.



Today the winery remains family owned and operated with the next generation, Aaron and Sarah Cahn Bennett, who now are actively involved in the business. Navarro has also expanded the vineyards to 40 acres of estate Pinot Noir under vine with 9 clones on 6 rootstocks divided into 8 unique parcels ranging from 350 - 1500 feet in altitude. They also source another 10 acres under contract with neighboring Valley Foothills Vineyard.

The Winemaker

In 1992 Jim Klein became Navarro’s winemaker. Like many other winemakers he graduated from U.C. Davis. His previous experience includes being the winemaker at Golan Heights Winery in Qasrin, Israel (January 1989  February 1992) and an Enologist at Charles Krug Winery (August 1984  December 1988) in St. Helena.



The Wines

Navarro Vineyards and Winery produces 2 Pinot Noirs: a Mendocino blend, a Méthode á l'Ancienne Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (from Navarro's estate fruit and a small percentage of grapes from other growers in the Anderson Valley), and a Deep End Blend Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. They also produce an Alsatian-style Gewürztraminer, an old-vine Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and a Muscat. Their current production is around 45,000 cases with the majority of their wine being sold directly to the public.



The winery has a beautiful garden adjacent to the parking area across from the tasting room. There you will find picnic tables and chairs surrounding a water fountain. Alongside the tasting room is a large deck where you can enjoy the wines, or take a step down the stairs to another picnic area under a vine draped wooden pergola.



While visiting I sampled the following wines:

The first wine was the 2010 Premeiere Reserve Chardonnay, Anderson Valley. This wine is clear straw-yellow with medium intense aromas of apples, pears, and lemon meringue. On the palate is dry with medium body, medium+ acidity and a long finish. A well balanced wine that sells for a fair price at $25 per bottle.

The second pour was the 2011 Muscat Blanc. On the nose it displays pronounced floral aromas, orange blossoms, honeydew melon, apricots and pear. On the palate it is dry, medium- in body with zesty medium+ acidity and a long finish. This wine sells for $19.50 per bottle.

The third wine was the 2011 Gewürztraminer. On the nose this wine displays classic profile of lychee, lemon-lime and melon. On the palate it is dry, crisp with medium+ acidity, medium bodied with a long finish. This wine sells for $19.50 per bottle.

The fourth sample was the 2011 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. Visually this wine is clear, light ruby red with subtle aromas of black cherries, roses, subtle herbs and smoke. On the palate it has medium intensity of flavors, medium- body, medium tannins, medium acidity and a medium+ length. The over-all appearance, nose and flavor profile is a lighter style and could be easily mistaken for a Pinot from Carneros that sell in the $15-$20 price range. This wine sells for $19.50 per bottle.

The fifth wine was 2009 Pinot Noir, Méthode à l'Ancienne. On the nose this wine has medium intense aromas of plums, rhubarb, cinnamon stick and a hint of smoke. On the palate it is somewhat light-weight with a medium- body, medium acidity and  medium+ length finish. This wine sells for $29 per bottle.

The final wine was 2007 Pinot Noir, Méthode à l'Ancienne. On the nose this wine has pronounced aromas of dark cherries, strawberry preserves, cinnamon, clove, forest floor and a hint of smoke. On the palate it is medium body, medium+ acidity and a prolonged finish. This wine has everything I look for in a Pinot and it easily be mistaken for a one from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This wine sells for $29 per bottle and I bought two of them. But only one made it home as I opened one that night and had it with some smoked salmon - absolutely phenomenal!



To see more pictures of Navarro Vineyards and Winery, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:


To visit or for more information:

Navarro Vineyards and Winery


5601 California 128  

Philo, CA 95466

Phone: 1-707-895-3686