Saturday, July 7, 2018

Navarro Vineyards/Zinfandel and Late Harvest/Great Food And Wines

We have another great feature for you!Today we will travel into the Anderson Valley and visit with Navarro Vineyards!We will feature a couple different vintages of Zinfandel and a late harvest wine.First let's check out their website and a little background on this fabled winery from Anderson Valley. Navarro Vineyards tasting room is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM in the winter and 9 AM to 6 PM in the summer. There is no charge for tasting and no reservations are required. We do not have regularly scheduled tours, however, with advance notice, tours can be arranged for small groups. Picnic tables are available in the summertime on the tasting room deck and in the adjacent vineyard under a grape trellis. We have simple picnic supplies in our deli case including artisan cheeses and locally smoked salmon or we can direct you to local stores where you can purchase more elaborate picnic supplies if you have not brought your own from home. One of the phenomena we've observed in wine production is that the first grapes harvested frequently make the best wine. This seems counter-intuitive as the ripening period for the earliest picking is the shortest. When we harvest Pinot Noir from the same microclimate, for example, we can frequently explain why a field of vines ripened their fruit sooner than adjacent fields. Vines with a light crop ripen faster than similar vines with a heavier crop. Healthy, virus-free vines ripen their crop quicker than vines that are virused and weak. Both of these conditions, a high ratio of leaves to fruit and lack of viruses, are also related to superior wine quality, which may explain why the first grapes can be the best. We have opened the 2014 Zinfandel and the 2015 Zinfandel. Navarro Vineyards produces Zinfandel from grapes grown mostly by two experienced growers, Al Tollini and Ed Berry. Since the youngest vines they farm are almost seventy years old, all the Zin Navarro produces certainly qualifies for "old vine" status. Each spring, we evaluate the wines from the prior vintage and in 2012, 2014 and 2015 the best Zinfandel wine was produced from the first Zinfandel grapes harvested from these two first-rate growers. Ed Berry's vines, planted in 1948, have good vigor and typically have a light crop which partially explains why this field is the first to ripen. The grapes were destemmed into two five-ton temperature-controlled fermentors where the skins were gently shoved into the fermenting must by hand to keep the tannins supple. After aging for eleven months in seasoned oak barrels, the wine was bottled unfiltered to preserve its strength. Gold Medal winner. We have a few courses to enjoy,and will not leave out dessert today! The '13 was picked a month earlier than the '12 with substantially more acidity and slightly more grape sugars. We decided to spotlight the grape's rare but desirable acidity by encouraging the fermentation to convert the extra sugars into alcohol, leaving the wine with 4% less sweetness and 52% more acidity than the 2012. The '12 is rich and unctuous, whereas the '13 flaunts a scintillating yin-yang of sweetness counter balanced with acidity. Both vintages produced exceptional wines with multiple Gold medals. Stock up since no Cluster Select Gewürztraminer was harvested in 2014. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class. Watch the seasons unfold with a tour of Navarro Vineyards. In spring the buds swell and burst out in leaf on the vines. The cover crop is abuzz with beneficial insects that enjoy the mustard flowers and wild calendulas as much as we do. By summer you can get an insider perspective on Navarro's chicken tractor and babydoll sheep projects which help minimize our use of fossil fuels. You may notice the steady click-clang of bottling in the winery as we get ready for the harvest. As the grapes ripen, the air becomes heavy with fermenting juice and the vines turn a luminous gold. Throughout the year we will be offering tours for Navarro's friends twice daily at 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Tours last about one hour and are limited to 15 people. You are welcome to bring your own picnic or pick up some local cheeses and meats from our deli case while you enjoy a glass of wine at Navarro's picnic tables after the tour. It's time,let's sit down and relax with a glass of wine from Navarro on the link below and join us!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Navarro Vineyards .

Friday, July 6, 2018

Navarro Vineyards/Pinot Noir Festival/Anderson Valley

Anderson Valley is a very special place,and a couple times each year I visit some of the world class wineries in this amazing valley.Today we will stop in at Navarro Vineyards,and enjoy some of the best this fabled valley has to offer.We have a few wines in this feature.We will check out the tasting notes and some of the history of this great Anderson Valley winery. Navarro Vineyards has been growing grapes, making wine and producing non-alcoholic grape juices in the Anderson Valley in coastal Mendocino since 1974. Since we are small, you probably will not find our wine in your local store, the majority of our production is sold directly out of our tasting room and through phone and web orders.. Our three wines today are two Pinot Noirs and the "Deep end Gverts." Harvest dates over the last two decades have slowly inched earlier and earlier, a phenomenon which understandably has us concerned as excess heat during ripening can greatly reduce the aromatics of delicate white grapes. Studies have revealed that when a darkly colored grape cluster is exposed to direct sunlight, the inside berries are over 60°F hotter than the outside air temperature. In wine country during harvest, that's sous vide temperature! In the late 1990s we planted two Gewürz vineyards using French trellis designs in which the shoots are trained in vertical panels so that rows of vines could grow closer together. Unfortunately many of the grape clusters in a VSP trellis (vertically shoot positioned) are exposed to direct sunlight, so in 2000 we began replanting what have historically been our three best Gewürz fields, this time incorporating a Navarro-designed triple-T trellis that keeps the clusters in the shade during the heat of the day. Grapes grown on Navarro's triple-T trellis proved to have fresher aromas and flavors than grapes grown on the VSP trellis. This was especially true in 2016, and this bottling was produced exclusively from grapes grown under the triple-T. The juice from each of six sub-blocks was cool-fermented, and aged sur lie for nine months in seasoned oak ovals. After a series of nine tastings the final blend was selected. We were dazzled by the freshness and crispness of this bone-dry cuvée; it's the driest Gewürz we've ever bottled but features a rounded mouthfeel, a result of Navarro's sur lie aging regime. Navarro Vineyards has been growing Pinot Noir grapes in Philo and making wine from these vineyards since 1978. Had someone told us forty years ago that we would still be experimenting on how to vinify estate Pinot Noir in 2017, we would have been dumbfounded. We frequently compare winemaking to cooking, which is a fair analogy if you're comparing cleanup to prep time. Winemaking however is focused almost entirely on a single ingredient; how the grapes are grown and processed becomes the ultimate variable. Weather has a noticeable effect on the fruit our vines produce, so each year many of Navarro's winemaking regimes are adjusted to nudge the outcome yet still capture the essence of the vineyard and the vintage. For example, we've learned that pumping over and saignée (removing some free-run juice to make a heavier wine) manipulate Pinot Noir too much, so we now avoid these practices. avarro's Deep End Pinot is stylistically different from the Méthode à l'Ancienne bottling, much the result of growing grapes up in the hills versus down in the valley. Navarro's regime for the Méthode style developed between 1983 and 1996; during that period we produced many experimental lots to figure out how to maximize wine quality produced from Pinot Noir grapes grown down on the valley floor. In the mid 90's we decided to expand our Pinot Noir production by creating new vineyards up on the hills. The microclimate in our upper vineyards is cooler than the valley floor, with a longer growing season; the vines bud out earlier and the crop is generally harvested later. We began our experimentation again. The regime that we developed for the Méthode wine was our starting point and over the years we've tweaked that recipe for the Deep End fruit. The first bottling from the upper vineyards was in 1998; we realized that the hillside fruit's flavor profile was best matched with exactly the same barrels and cooper as the valley fruit. The biggest change came several years later when we discovered that the wine produced from our hillside fruit was better after sixteen months of barrel aging rather than eleven months aging for Méthode à l'Ancienne wines. In addition, the Deep End Pinots are aged in a higher percentage of new barrels than the Méthode wines and are wholly bottled unfiltered. Get lost meandering down this wine's complex flavor paths: plum, strawberry, clove, pomegranate, vanilla, cocoa and chanterelles. It's time,let relax and click on the link below and enjoy a great feature with Navarro Vineyards!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Navarro Vineyards .

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Balo Vineyards/Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs /AND Rose of Pinot Noir/

When in Anderson Valley ,you are surrounded by world class Pinot Noirs.I stopped into Balo Vineyards and Alex and I opened two incredible Pinots and a Rose of Pinot Noir.We also had a great dinner that evening and finished those wines. The Estate Pinot Noir is the flagship wine in the Balo portfolio. Produced from four clones of entirely estate grown grapes (in arguably the best vintage Anderson Valley has ever seen) this wine is powerful, and structured while retaining the acids and the nuanced flavor profile that Balo's Pinots have become known for. It is elegant, yet brooding with notes of dark cherry, wet cobblestone and forest floor. We also opened their Suitcase 828 Pinot Noir . Dark red with magenta edges. Aromas of bing cherry, fresh loam and anise with hints of lavender and rose. Intense flavors of dark cherry, wild raspberries and passion fruit. The medium-long finish is mouthwatering with a heightened sense of acidity and a velvety texture that will add many years of life to this rich yet restrained, young wine. The Suitcase 828 is Balo Vineyards' first attempt at bottling a single clone Pinot Noir. This controversial Pinot Droit (upright) clone was smuggled into the country from Burgundy many years ago by a famous Oregon winery owner. Its unique, vigorous growth profile has raised some questions about its origins. Decidedly old world in style, with a flavor profile roughly halfway between Pinot Noir and Gamay (think Beaujolais), this wine is an exciting departure from the typical California Pinot. Grown on a bench of fertile, moderately rocky soil above a redwood-lined creek near Philo, this lasts on a pure, clean dark-cherry flavor that’s energetic and fresh—its juicy florality brings to mind cru Beaujolais. It’s not a wine for the cellar, but rather a deliciously youthful pinot noir to enjoy now with salmon. Lastly we opened the Balo Anderson Valley Rose of Pinot Noir 2016. Aromas of freshly harvested alpine strawberry and tropical fruit compliment the dry, refreshing watermelon, cranberry, and grapefruit. Layered with a precise minerality, this Rose is the perfect summer wine! Do me a favor and pull up a chair and we will enjoy a glass of wine and listen to our great new feature with Alex and Balo Vineyards !Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Balo vineyards Vineyards .

Monday, June 25, 2018

Balo Vineyards/Anderson Valley White Wines and Ciders

We have decided to stay a couple extra days in Anderson Valley and drop in on a great new friend at Balo Vineyards. Balo Vineyards is Located in the Anderson Valley and the town of Philo. Anderson Valley is located in Mendocino County, roughly 115 miles north of San Francisco, and is approximately 16 miles long. It's a relatively narrow valley ranging from one half mile to one and a half miles wide with steep, evergreen studded hillsides and mountains on either side. Those mountains and ridges provide a stunning back drop for the rolling foothills and the bucolic valley floor. Cattle and sheep ranches, horse properties, apple orchards, vineyards and several other agricultural industries line the valley from Yorkville in the South to Navarro in the North. The valley's main water source, the Navarro River, is fed by several large creeks and winds its way through the valley and out into the Pacific Ocean. Lining its banks and covering the hillsides are thousands of beautiful Redwood trees, many of which are hundreds of years old. The social and economic heart of the Anderson Valley is the town of Boonville. There you will find excellent choices for dining, lodging, shopping and wine tasting. The other major towns are Yorkville, Navarro and Philo, where our vineyard is located. There are no traffic lights in the entire valley and even the most developed town of Boonville can be driven through in less than 60 seconds. For the residents and the tourists this only adds to the locale's considerable charm. In addition, a number of well planned and rigorous agricultural zoning laws are in place to ensure that the country feel is here to stay. We will join us Alex in a few minutes and open a few wines and ciders,and enjoy anderson valley as it's meant to be enjoyed. Local Wine Industry While vines have been cultivated in the area for well over a century, the focused grape growing and wine production industry is relatively new. In the 1960's the Edmeades family were the first, planting 24 acres of grapes in the valley. Other intrepid wine growers soon followed and the area was rewarded with its own AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1983. The Anderson Valley is one of California's mildest wine growing regions and many cool weather varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling thrive in our unique microclimates. There are a number of wineries producing world class sparkling and still wines and several top notch growers that sell their sought after grapes to winemakers in Napa, Sonoma and elsewhere in the U.S. Please click on the link below and join Alex and i as we learn more about these world class wines from Balo Vineyards! Oh and one more thing...sit down and relax and pour a glass of white wine from this fabled Anderson Valley winery! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Balo Vineyards .

Friday, June 22, 2018

Philo Ridge Vineyards/From The Top Of The World

We decided to open three more wines at the Philo Ridge tasting room,and Fred and I are both thinking about the need for a FEW different dishes to go with these beautiful wines.First a bit about the winery and on to the tasting notes before we pour a glass of wine and listen to our great feature. Philo Ridge Vineyards, located in the beautiful hills of the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. We make small, handcrafted lots of eleven wines for a total of 2500 cases per year. Our award winning wines are produced by sustainable farming practices from vineyards in Mendocino County. 100% Vegan . . . 100% Wind & Solar Powered Winery 2012 Zinfandel Firebrick Vineyard will be our first wine. Philo Ridge Vineyards prides ourselves on making very approachable Zinfandel. This is not an over-the-top jammy or high alcohol style. 2012 was an exceptional growing year: not many big temperature swings, little frost, and no rain. Blackberries, cherries, and soft pepper spice with a lingering finish and brambly aromas. The higher acidity makes it a versatile food wine. This is our first wine from this vineyard and we are expecting great things. 100% vegan. Incredible!! now onto The 2013 Primitivo !! Both these wines are Amazing! This old world varietal gives a nose of blackberry, cinnamon stick, and mulled apples. The mouth is ripe mixed berries, dark chocolate, and a spice finish. A wine to pair with hearty dishes, pizza, and anything Italian. 100% Vegan. We start today with the 2014 Gewurztraminer from Philo Ridge Vineyards. This fruit forward, dry Gewurztraminer will transport you to a field of aromatic wild flowers. Close your eyes and taste flavors of fresh pineapple and mango. 100% vegan. We have poured three glasses of these wines and now will relax and click on the link and enjoy Learning more about Philo Ridge Vineyards!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Philo Ridge Vineyards .

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Philo Ridge Vineyards/Pinot Noirs/Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival/

I always look forward to driving up into the town of Boonville and staying in the Anderson valley. As always I stopped at Foursight wines and then enjoyed some time with Fred R. Buonanno. It's always amazing to talk wines with this man,and also Baseball. A little about the wines and first a bit about the winery,and the Anderson Valley. The winery and vineyards are situated 5.33 miles up a dirt road from the floor of the Anderson Valley. This is where Fred R. Buonanno and Heather A. McKelvey decided to plant their roots, so to speak, and begin our venture into the wine business. They had looked at properties for over four years, until one Sunday evening, we looked in the Sunday classified section of the San Francisco Chronicle. There, under the heading of Farms and Ranches, was a five line ad for a For Sale By Owner. It described a 50+ acre property with a vineyard and room to plant more. We called that evening and made arrangements to meet the next Saturday. After looking around the property for about an hour, we made an offer on the most beautiful piece of property we had seen in our four years of searching. We took possession of the property in August of 1999. There were already three acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot planted just below the house. The vineyard was planted in 1976 by the original owner of the property, Vernon Rose of Christine Woods Winery. The property was their original winery as well. There were an additional seven acres of plantable terraced land just yards from the original vineyard. We suddenly found ourselves in the wine business. It was quite thrilling and equally terrifying. Neither of us had ever actually farmed. We had read a great deal and we were well schooled in the wine aspect of the business, but we were lacking in that get-your-hands-in-the-dirt, practical experience. One of the first things we did was ask Norman Kobler to be our vineyard manager. Norman has many years of hands-on knowledge about almost everything to do with putting something in the ground, watching it grow, and making wine. Norman planned and supervised the installation of our Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vineyards in 2000 and has worked hard to continue our education. We decided to become a bonded winery in 2001 and we released our first vintage in January of 2004: 167 cases of 2001 Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. We were very pleased when our first submission – our 2001 Syrah – won a Silver medal in the San Francisco Chronicle competition. Since that time, we have entered a number of competitions with our wines and have done very well, including 90 points and Editor's Choice for the 2006 Pinot Noir in the July 2010 Wine Enthusiast. We also received Editor's Choice for the Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris in the same edition. Our production is now up to 2200 cases and we continue to ratchet up our production. But we still make each wine by hand in small batches of between 90 to 450 cases each. Our goal is to make great wines that have complexity and exemplify the best their varietals have to offer your palate. Pinot Noir is our primary wine, but we have added Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Viognier to the mix for white wines and Zinfandel.Today we will discuss the Pinot Noirs produced by Philo ridge.We will taste three different Pinots and a new wine also. We have the 2012,2013, and 2014 vintages in front of us.These wines are "slowly released and bottled" A very traditional style Pinot Noir. An exuberant nose of dried cranberry with an intense fruity palate. Taste ripe cherries, and a hint of vanilla. Perfect for pairing with salmon, turkey and light meats. 100% vegan.We will discuss each of these wines with Fred in our new feature. Also we have a surprise wine for you .Sp pull up a chair and relax and click on the link below,and don't forget the most important part.....??Pour yourself a glass of Philo Ridge Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley.Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Philo Ridge Vineyards .

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Handley Cellars/MORE BIG Reds/From Over the Mountain/Randy Schock

We have enjoyed many great wines with Randy Schock lately,but today we have three of my favorites. These are wines that are not sourced from the Anderson Valley.we will get the full story as we spend yet another great day at Handley Cellars. Let's check out the tasting notes and a little history on Handley Cellars before we join Randy at the winery.First we will learn a bit about Handley Cellars. Handley Cellars is a small family-owned winery in California’s Mendocino County. Bonded in 1982, we produce around 12,000 cases of wine a year. Our quality starts with our Estate Vineyards in Anderson Valley. We are located at the northwest end of the Anderson Valley on 59 acres of the original Holmes Ranch. Still standing on the property are the now-refurbished ranch house, barn, and the original water tower. At Handley Cellars, we offer a wide variety of wines that complement today’s diverse cuisines. Founding Winemaker Milla Handley sought to make balanced wines that possess distinctive varietal characteristics, wines that reflect the soil and climate in which they were grown. Handley’s beautiful tasting room is located 6 miles northwest of Philo, California, on Highway 128. We offer tours by appointment, and our garden courtyard is open for picnics. Stop by to try our selections and, while visiting, enjoy our unique display of folk art collected from around the world. We aim to produce fruit-driven red wines with balanced ripeness and acidity, moderate alcohol levels, and minimal oak influence. The Anderson Valley is an ideal growing region for Pinot Noir. We also bottle Syrah and Zinfandel sourced from warmer inland vineyards within Mendocino County, as well as other bold reds and proprietary red blends. The Zinfandel is warming like the golden rays of light of an Indian Summer. Aromas of caramel and anise meld with brambly red fruit in this wine. From Kazmet Ranch, these mature head pruned vines are dry farmed providing concentrated brambly berry, red raspberry, and cassis flavors with hints of spice. Aged for 18 months in 20 percent new oak barrels. It is full bodied and round on the finish. Our Zinfandel BBQ sauce on slow-cooked Pork Ribs is one of our favorite pairings. A glass of this Primotivo is fulfilling like gazing down upon rolling hills from a hill top Tuscan Villa. The grapes for this powerful wine come from Vittorio Vineyard. These older head pruned vines are dry farmed resulting in intense briary fruit with earthy undertones. It features clove and chestnut with aromas of fresh baked blackberry pie. Mouth filling flavors of ripe red plums and wild blackberries coat the palate. Aged for 18 months in 20 percent new oak. It is smooth and persistent on the finish. The Handley kitchen prepared a lovely Portabello Mushroom Stroganoff whose earthy flavors played beautifully with this wine. we will also open the new release of Handley Cellars Syrah.A big bold wine that has a great finish that will convince you that you WILL need another glass of this world class wine. Please click on the link below and join us for a tasting with wine maker Randy Schock!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Handley Cellars .