Friday, March 27, 2015
It's Friday! And yes it's a Navarro Kind Of Weekend!We have 4 great new features with winemaker Jim Kline.We will start with two great whites,and then on to Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.First let's check out the tasting notes. This is their third vintage of Pinot Blanc from Jason and Susanne McConnell's well-tended vineyard in the Russian River watershed near Ukiah and we are tickled by the consistent quality from vintage to vintage. The climate in Ukiah is warmer than the Anderson Valley, especially during harvest, and we didn't want September heat to burn off the variety's floral, stone-fruit aromatics; we decided to harvest these grapes a bit less ripe than we typically do for Navarro's Philo-grown whites. one customer's modest comment pretty much sums up our feelings: “straightforward, refreshing and well made. perfect summer wine.” There are no oak flavors to beef up the weight or mask the fruit. The wine is dry, crisp and light enough to pair with food on a warm summer day. Two prior vintages (and hopefully this vintage) of Navarro's Pinot Blanc have garnered Gold Medals at the California State Fair. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class. “Pinot gris is grown across the globe with the "spicy" full-bodied Alsatian and lighter-bodied, more acidic Italian styles being most widely recognized.” —Wikipedia. How can two cultures, separated by a mountain range, have totally different ideas of an "ideal" wine? Alsatians are noted for the aromatic grape varieties they grow, consequently the grapes are harvested very ripe to achieve maximum fruit aromas and flavors; frequently so ripe that the wines end up with some residual grape sugar. The Italian public seems to prefer their white wines much more austere (acidic) and without the fruity aromas that characterize Alsatian offerings. Anderson Valley is blessed with very cold nights preceding harvest, which allows the grapes to retain their natural acidity; we pick the grapes with more flavor than many Italian Grigios, but less ripe than the wine we label as Gris. A nutty, oily texture with a crisp finish hinting of pineapple that is perfect on a warm evening. Now on to the beautiful Pinot Noir and My favorite Zinfandel. The Deep End Pinot Noir is rich and full,and perfect with many different dishes.A series of storms in the first week of October created crummy growing conditions and Zinfandel, with its tight clusters, is especially prone to rot. We only had a few days warning of the impending storm. We quickly harvested any of Navarro's fields that were ripe and we advised our red wine-grape growers in the Russian River Valley to do the same. “If the fruit is ripe, get it harvested before the storm!” Ed Berry has a perfect site for Zinfandel and he had two blocks of 65 year old vines with deliciously ripe fruit. He sprang into action and lined up a crew right after we phoned and harvested his two best lots. Al Tollini's best field was ripe, but he decided to wait until the last minute before the storm to squeeze the last little bit of ripeness out of his 80 year old vines. This wine is a testament to the doggedly hard work of these two growers; the old-vine Zin we produce from their grapes is as intense and full of character as are the farmers who tended the vines. The fruit was destemmed, fermented in open-top tanks for two weeks then the must was pressed and the wine aged in French oak barrels for 10 months; gutsy with intimations of wild blackberries, tea and black figs. Gold Medal winner. Click here and join us as we taste two great white wines from Navarro Vineyards. Click here and yes it's Pinot time. Click here as we have a glass of Navarro Zinfandel waiting for you.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
This spring is starting warm in northern California.I'm heading toward the coast and into Mendocino County.This is Anderson valley,and Navarro Vineyards.Jim Kline has made the wines for many years,and this winery has an incredible following.once people are introduced to these wines they are followers for life.Let's check out our first two features.First to the tasting notes...AND then to the food and wine pairing!! 2012 Chardonnay Première Reserve Navarro has two primary Chardonnay vineyards. The TR vineyard, directly in front of Navarro's tasting room, was originally planted in 1978, 725 vines per acre. The field was replanted in 2011, in five blocks, with combinations of two clones grafted on to two different rootstocks, 1,815 vines per acre. Eighteen years ago we began replanting sections of the Hammer Olsen field; these blocks are now fully mature and producing crops with excellent varietal flavors and verve. The combination of new clones from France, earlier-maturing rootstocks and denser plantings results in the new blocks ripening their fruit earlier than our original plantings, with riper flavors and balanced acidity. After cruddy weather in 2011 prevented us from producing our flagship Première Reserve Chardonnay, we were delighted with perfect ripening conditions in 2012. The fruit was sourced entirely from Navarro's Hammer Olsen vineyard, since the TR field was not yet productive. The juice from each picking was fermented and aged sur lie for nine months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Our favorite Chardonnay barrel is produced by Billon Cooperage; for Navarro, they source tight grain wood from the Vosges forest then air dry it three years, resulting in subtle oak flavors suggesting coconut and Melba toast, which integrate seamlessly with Hammer Olsen's crisp apple-pear fruit. We've served it with scallop, prawn and mushroom risotto... yum. Gold Medal winner. 2012 G Gewürztraminer Cluster Select Late Harvest After the meager 2010 and 2011 vintages, where we bottled less wine than needed, it was a relief to have a decent Gewürz crop in 2012. The bountiful harvest put us in such a confident mood that we decided a big-time gamble was in order. We harvested enough Gewürz to produce the desired quantities of 2012 Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer and Edelzwicker but we left about twenty tons of grapes on the vine, hoping the fruit would rot. We visited the field frequently and although botrytis was spreading, so were the undesirable molds. Our gamble seemed increasingly reckless with each review. In late November, four days after Thanksgiving, we began harvesting; after tossing fruit with undesirable rots on the ground, we harvested less than seven tons of botrytised fruit to produce this honeyed beauty. We began entering this wine in national and international wine competitions in March 2013 and with each Gold medal, or more select accolade, we were convinced we had produced a very special wine. Recently, at a family celebration, we pulled out a 1983 Navarro Cluster Select wine, one of our first dessert wines to garner a horde of Gold medals. Everyone at the table swooned. This clean, peachy ambrosia will be delicious decades from now, so save some in your cellar as these age worthy, golden nectars are ideally suited for remembering and celebrating special occasions. Winner of thirteen Gold Medals. Best of Class. Best of Show. Now let's join Jim Kline and open these bottles!We saved you a seat,and will pour a glass of each!Cheers! Click here and join us for a glass of this beautiful Chardonnay. Click here dessert in a glass,care for a taste.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I have three more incredible features with Jason Drew.These wines are very special!Yes,the Pinot Noirs are perhaps Jason's "Calling Card",but the Syrah is one of the best I have tasted.There is also an amazing white wine feature.Lets get started and check out the tasting notes on these beautiful wines. Syrah 2013 Valenti Ranch Syrah Mendocino Ridge This is a challenging coastal site with daily maritime winds and fog resulting in cooler temperatures throughout the growing season. The fierce coastal winds lends it to naturally low yields resulting in excellent ripeness and intensity at lower sugar levels. The result is a well structured and intensely flavored Syrah, a wine meant to pair with food. Preferably roasted lamb. A perfect winter wine! "A highly perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, potpourri, olive and peppery spices, along with a bright mineral overtone. Lively, tightly focused black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show a suave blend of power and finesse, with a smoky nuance in the background." 2012 Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir Yorkville Highlands This vineyard is located in a cool pocket amongst the redwoods in the Yorkville Highlands AVA. The vineyard is on a steep southeastern slope at an elevation of approximately 850 feet. The Weir Vineyard is 15 acres and planted to some of the rarer Pinot Noir selections seen today in California. An alleged Domain Romanee- Conti selection and a Rochiolli field selection were used in combination to produce this wine with lifted aromatics with red complex fruit and crushed stone and a sublte earth and forest floor notes. 100% native fermentation and 33% whole cluster brings gives desired structure. "Impressively precise pinot finishing with excellent cut and persistent red fruit flavors." The third wine will be a surprise,and now let's join Jason Drew,and YES!!We saved you a seat!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Drew family Cellars. Click here and we will pour you a glass of this amazing Pinot Noir from Drew Family cellars. Click here as you won't want to miss this feature.
Monday, March 23, 2015
I have traveled into Anderson valley,and I'm very much looking forward to meeting with Jason Drew,and Drew family Cellars.Let's take a look at the website and the history of this up and coming super star of Anderson valley. The story began 24 years ago, after completing an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Ecology with an emphasis in Viticulture, Jason Drew began his professional career working for Carmenet Vineyards in Sonoma. After several years managing 70 acres of Bordeaux varieties on the Sonoma Mountain, Jason moved on to work for Navarro Vineyards in the Anderson Valley, managing their estate vineyards. It was during this time that Jason felt the desire to close the circle and go back to Graduate school to study Winemaking. Given the choices available at that time, he chose the University of Adelaide in South Australia given the stellar reputation of their Enology program. Jason and Molly packed up their lives and put it all in storage to begin their next chapter in the southern hemisphere. Jason and Molly returned home a year and a half later with an Enology degree and their newborn son Owen Thomas Drew. The "recurring fantasy" of owning land and planting their own vineyard and building their own winery kept surfacing. The possibility seemed out of reach, but for Jason and Molly the obsession remained as they kept their eyes on land listings up and down the coast of California. In 2004 they found their opportunity when they saw an old 26 acre orchard for sale within the Mendocino Ridge appellation. The property had it all, southern exposure, oceanic soils, hillside drainage and an edgy coastal climate. The stars aligned and they jumped! We are tasting beautiful Pinot Noirs with Jason Drew Today! Their estate vineyard Field Station Ranch is located on the Mendocino coast in what is known as the Mendocino Ridge AVA. We are the most westward vineyard in Mendocino County, a mere 3.3 miles to the Pacific ocean. Sitting at 1300 ft, we are often above the fog and the frost during the growing season. We receive the daily afternoon winds off the Pacific that keep our temps quite moderate (avg 60-75 degrees). We spent the six years prior to planting gathering weather data and Click here part1. studying our soil types so that we could best plan our vineyard. We planted seven acres in 2011 with eight different Pinot Noir clones. They include 115, 828, Calera, 943, 667, Pommard, Swan and Mt Eden. Our soils are part of the Franciscan soil series north of San Francisco that makes up the Coastal Ranges. These coastal mountains were formed when the Pacific plate and the North American Plate collided forcing the ocean floor under the continent. This collision scraped the ocean floor pushing up the ocean floor material creating our Coastal Ranges. We are reminded of this ancient collision often as we find rounded river stones, calcareous rocks and sandstone sedimentary material in our daily walks through the vineyard. 2013 Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Owned by one of the founders of Williams Seylem, Burt Williams. This vineyard is located in the deep end of Anderson Valley on a steep south facing hillside. This site has all the features we seek: great soil structure, hillside drainage, coastal influence and excellent field selections. 2012 provided ideal spring set conditions for a balanced crop and the summer temps brought long and even ripening. This wine is all about subtlety, finesse and balance. Red fruit and mineral notes are surrounded by light floral and sweet earth, shitake mushroom and graphite notes. 2013 Gatekeepers Pinot Noir Anderson Valley The Anderson Valley is showcased in the 2013 Gatekeepers. The vineyards chosen for this blend are unique in what they contribute to the final wine. In this case the Valenti Ranch brings forest floor notes, spice with a mineral rich element, while the Filligreen contributes wild red berries and floral tones. The Balo rounds things out with greater tannin structure and a richer fruit profile also adding a forest mushroom character.? With deep red fruits, earthy mineral notes and finely grained tannis, this wine has the velvety texture we look for. Pair with roasted game or wild mushroom risotto. Click here as we join Jason Drew and Drew family cellars. Click here as we pour a glass of these amazing Pinot Noirs for you.
Friday, March 20, 2015
I have great news!We have MORE Pinot Noir for you!Domaine Anderson is a new stop for me,and the wines are very special. Winemaking at Domaine Anderson begins in the vineyard. Our viticultural and winemaking teams collaborate closely to ensure full preservation of the grapes’ inherent character and quality. Grapes are hand-harvested in small lots at ideal ripeness and transported immediately from the vineyard to the winery. Winemaking decisions are driven by taste, skill, and intuition. Our winemaker, Jerry Murray, has dedicated his career to super premium Pinot Noir wines with experience spanning three continents and eight wineries, most recently in the state of Oregon. Selected traditional and modern winemaking techniques support our vision of making wines that are elegant, pure and balanced. We treat our grapes with extra care, guided by our philosophy of minimum intervention throughout the winemaking process. Hand-sorting and gentle extraction of juice is achieved via our hydraulic barrel press. Open top fermentation tanks are used to achieve precise extraction of flavors and color, and slow malolactic fermentation defines structure and enhances the clarity of site-specific aromatics for our Pinot Noir wines. The traditional practice of battonage, or the process of gentle hand stirring wine while it remains in barrel, provides balance to our Chardonnay wines and helps give them the flavor and texture we desire. As Domaine Anderson’s Winemaker, Jerry Murray works closely with the Domaine Anderson Vineyard Management team to produce wines that express the singular character of our vineyards. A 13-year career dedicated to world class Pinot Noir, spanning three continents and eight wineries, led Jerry to Domaine Anderson. Following experiences throughout Oregon, New Zealand and Germany, at such prestigious estates as Martinborough Vineyards, Weingut Slebach – Oster J&H Selbach, Chehalem Winery and Patton Valley Vineyards, Jerry has proven his passion for Pinot Noir and world class winemaking skills. Most recently he served as winemaker at Van Duzer Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.We have three wines for you today.Two Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay. 2012 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley A bright and lucid expression of Pinot Noir’s captivating virtues, this wine fills the palate with black cherry, raspberry, and sumptuous red plum. A breath of clove lends perfect balance to this wine. Beneath its silkiness lies a core of tannin emboldened by acidity, showing energy and graceful agility. Not to be defined by the dominant fruits, the mid-palate reveals a compelling extension of tenebrous earth notes. Molasses and a hint of sweet oak are woven in, creating depth and sustained intrigue. The finish is striking with vitality and charm. 2012 Chardonnay Anderson Valley Flavors of warm apricot are given gorgeous dimension by fragrant white-flower aromatics; hints of caramelized apple and cinnamon heighten a mid-palate of pure guava, sweet vanilla and poached pear. Ethereal yet voluminous, the wine’s acidity provides a long and lingering finish – one of Meyer lemon punctuated by an end note of spicy oak. Refined, elegant, and perfectly restrained, this wine displays the clarity of vision and intent with which it was created. Our third wine is a preview of an up and coming soon to be released single vineyard Pinot noir!Now let's join Jerry Murray,and by the way....We saved YOU a seat cheers! Click here and join us...it's Pinot time. Click here as we open this special chardonnay. Click here and join us as we preview an amazing single vineyard Pinot Noir.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
We have many bottles of wine on the table,and have been joined by Michael Fay.Michael Fay is the wine maker for Goldeneye,which is the Pinot Noir house of Duckhorn Wine Company.We are tasting 2 single Vineyard Pinots,and 2 whites,and a beautiful Vin Gris.Let's look at the tasting notes as we join Michael fay,and learn of these special wines from Anderson Valley. Located in the cool heart of the Anderson Valley, along California’s windswept Mendocino Coast, Split Rail is the most recent addition to our collection of estate vineyards. With a varied topography of undulating slopes and benchlands, 16 distinct blocks of Pinot Noir and nine different clones, it is also one of our most diverse vineyards. This diversity contributes to a complex and nuanced expression of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir that balances focused red fruit elements with impeccable structure and depth. Situated on a narrow ridgetop at the northernmost tip of the Anderson Valley, The Narrows Vineyard is a historic mountain ranch planted with mature Pinot Noir vines. A mere 10 miles from the rugged Mendocino Coast, our low-yielding hillside vineyard is affected by strong marine influences that produce summer fog and cooler daytime temperatures. These extreme conditions provide the perfect setting for growing grapes of great intensity, resulting in a complex Pinot Noir of depth that embodies the vineyard’s wild beauty and natural intensity. Located in the cool heart of the Anderson Valley, along California’s windswept Mendocino Coast, Split Rail is the most recent addition to our collection of estate vineyards. Within its varied topography of undulating slopes and benchlands, two small blocks of Pinot Gris are planted. Each one-acre block is comprised of the same rootstock but with two different clones. Crisp and refreshing, this wine has lovely acidity and offers a pure expression of Pinot Gris. The Goldeneye Gewürztraminer is derived from a one-acre block of our Confluence Vineyard. The Gewürztraminer is night harvested and whole cluster pressed before first light to preserve the inherent freshness of the varietal. The juice is fermented in stainless steel for up to 45 days at 45 to 50 degrees which maintains the aromatic character so important to Gewürztraminer. The Gewürztraminer is bottled shortly after completing fermentation and is best served cold as a wonderful accompaniment to a variety of foods. The Goldeneye Vin Gris is crafted from juice drawn from harvested Pinot Noir grapes that is left on the skins for approximately 22 hours, just long enough to provide richness and a hint of color to the wine. The juice extracted for the Vin Gris is immediately cold-fermented to preserve the delicate aromatics and flavors that are essential to a light- to medium-bodied rosé wine. Aged briefly in stainless steel tanks to further preserve its natural qualities, this wine is best served cold and is a wonderful accompaniment to a variety of foods. Click here join us as we saved you a seat. Click here and we will save a glass for you.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
I have been waiting to travel into the Anderson valley,and NOW...My wait is over!!Join me as I feature the wines of this "Pinot Noir Heaven" Growing Region.In the story of great winegrowing appellations, there are always a few wineries that help to raise the bar and chart the course for a region. As a Pinot Noir specialist, and the winemaker for Goldeneye, Michael Fay is building on the valley’s reputation as one of the world’s preeminent locations for growing Pinot Noir. At the same time, his belief in a vineyard-inspired, small-lot approach to winemaking is cementing Goldeneye’s status as one of North America’s great Pinot Noir wineries. MICHAEL FAY Winemaker for Goldeneye Michael was born in Vicenza, Italy, near the winegrowing region of Friuli, and was raised in Southern California. While working in the restaurant industry and studying forestry management at the University of Washington in Seattle, Michael discovered a passion for West Coast Pinot Noir. “I was studying forestry management because I wanted to cultivate a relationship with nature, but my growing love of Pinot made me realize I didn’t want to make paper, I wanted to make wine.” In 2000, Michael transferred to Cal Poly to study enology and viticulture. He also took a job in the vineyards at Cambria Estate in Santa Maria. It didn’t last long. “My vineyard work was meticulous, but I was really slow!” The name Ten Degrees pays homage to the unique, cool climate of the Anderson Valley and the fact that even though our four estate vineyards span a modest eight miles, they often display a temperature variance of as much as 10 degrees from The Narrows Vineyard in the cool “deep end” to our Confluence Vineyard in the south. To add to this natural climactic diversity, our Estate program consists of 200 acres and more than 96 individual blocks of Pinot Noir with 49 unique combinations of clone and rootstock material. Goldeneye began making premium quality, cool-climate Pinot Noir from our estate winery in the Anderson Valley in 1997. Blending grapes from four estate vineyards, we are dedicated to crafting wines of refinement and elegance from a rich palette of terroir-inspired fruit. Reflecting the Mendocino Coast’s unique marine influences, sites and soils, these grapes create sublime and sophisticated Pinot Noir. To further enhance natural depth and complexity, winemaker Michael Fay selects only a small percentage of the finest fruit for each vintage before applying small-lot, artisanal winemaking techniques. Our Confluence Vineyard is located in the heart of the Anderson Valley, adjacent to the headwaters of the Navarro River. The vineyard offers a unique range of soils, from benchland to gravel strata, as well as varying exposures including hillside slopes and protected pockets. This natural diversity allows us to choose clones ideally suited to each specific vineyard block, ultimately yielding grapes possessing a variety of expressive flavors and characteristics. The opulent Pinot Noir produced from this valley floor vineyard displays voluptuous red fruit components and plush, supple tannins. Offering an ideal southwestern exposure and an array of unique benchland and hillside vineyard blocks, Gowan Creek Vineyard brings together elements from both the Anderson Valley’s warmer regions and its cooler, northern “deep end.” This diversity has inspired two limited-production Pinot Noirs─Gowan Creek Lower Bench and Gowan Creek Hillside. Though both wines offer the wild, blue fruit flavors that are signatures of the vineyard, this bottling spotlights the lush, opulent and fruit-driven character of grapes grown in the deep alluvial soils of Gowan Creek’s fertile lower bench sections - Soon we will have incredible food and wine pairings with these wines,Cheers! Click here and join us as we taste these beautiful Pinot Noirs. Click here and please don't miss this tasting.