May 5, 2020
Onward Pinot Noir Cerise

Onward Pinot Noir “Cerise” 2013

Multi-layered, intense and light on its feet, the 2013 Onward Cerise Pinot Noir has a bright, lighter red color, smells of griottes (fancy for wild red cherries), rose-scented candle wax, nutmeg and pretty French oak. The flavors go in the same direction with raspberry, floral incense, dried orange peel and black tea sneaking in there. The style and the 12.9% alcohol places the wine firmly in the “ethereal” camp of Pinot Noir. Make no mistake – if this is your preferred style of Pinot Noir, it delivers as well as any from California. Onward and Farmstrong Wines is the creation […]
April 22, 2020
Navarro Rose

Navarro Rosé of Pinot Noir 2019

On the light and delicate side of Rosé wine with light wild red cherry, pink rose petals and mandarin orange smells and flavors. The light, transparent color will please the army of Rosé drinkers who judge by color. And the flavor is in line with the look: very dry, shining acidity and subtle flavor. On the day I tasted this was bottled for just two months. I recommend drinking it now, and believe it will be even better in July. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct in California and miniscule distribution outside the state. It is one of the few […]
June 13, 2019
Navarro Gewurztraminer Deep End

Navarro Gewurztraminer “Deep End” 2017

Not your average Gewurztraminer, the tightly-spaced, hillside, low-yielding Gewurz vines used for “Deep End Blend” makes for an outstanding wine. Smell and taste grapefruit marmalade, orange zest, white pepper, mango, dried apple slices and tarragon. This is fermented dry to 13.9 alcohol, which is low by most measures for excellent California wine, but high for cool-climate Gewurztraminer. You have to go to Alsace to find a worthy comparison for the Deep End Gewurztraminer. Super-impressive. Buy some from Navarro Winery before it’s all gone.
March 20, 2019
Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Demuth

ANTHILL FARMS Pinot Noir “Demuth” 2016

For years this has been one of my favorite California Pinot Noirs. Why? Because of its Burgundy-like marriage of brilliant cherry fruits and graceful earthy spice. And texture…richness under control. My tasting notes include deep red wild cherry, red roses, dried ginger, black truffle and vanilla bean. A natural beauty. Get this while you can.
January 7, 2019
Halcon Pinot Noir Oppenlander

Halcon Pinot Noir Oppenlander 2016

It’s doubtful you will happen upon Oppenlander Vineyard. It’s in, or part of, the census-designated place (step below town) of Comptche, 12 miles from the Pacific and 25 mile drive from the nearest town, Mendocino. Yes, it’s a cool vineyard, ideal for the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that grows there, so brightness in wines from here is a given. Other factors make Oppenlander Pinots, the ones I’ve had anyway, denser and more earth-driven than most from cool coastal vineyards. The clay-loam soils and exceptional sun exposure has something to do with that. Sum-up: I dig Oppenlander Vineyard Pinot Noirs. Yet […]
January 7, 2019
Halcon Pinot Noir Bearwallow

HALCON Pinot Noir “Bearwallow” 2016

It’s tricky to make a delicious, truly delicious, Pinot Noir from an “extreme” vineyard like Bearwallow. Paul Gordon of Halcon knows how and achieved it in his first release of Pinot Noir from “Bearwallow.” By extreme I mean very cool micro-climate at the northwest end of Mendocino’s Anderson Valley where vines and valley turn to coastal woodlands. Add on the fact that it’s a rocky, north-facing hillside vineyard (most cool sites will face south to gobble up late-day summertime sun) and you have a challenging environment for full ripening to say the least. Mr. Gordon is comfortable with high risk […]
December 10, 2018
Navarro Pinot Noir

NAVARRO Pinot Noir Methode L’Ancienne 14

From first whiff you know this is a wine you, and everyone with you, is going to love and drink up. Just make sure to pour yourself a full glass. The nose is warm holiday spices, mocha and cherry preserves. More of the same in the mouth: ripe, soft, gently spicy and comforting. This has a natural richness to it, and being Pinot Noir it doesn’t go too far. Pinot Noir’s gentle grace persists. Way to go, Navarro. A rare Hall of Fame Value by Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor. For all my Navarro wine reviews, GO HERE. Here is my […]
November 29, 2018
Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer

Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer 2017

First off, the Navarro Vineyards Dry Gewurztraminer smells awesome. Honeydew melon, fresh ginger, peach, grapefruit, orange blossoms and white pepper. The taste moves on to orange zest, more melons and fresh-cut flowers. (Steers away from the honey/lychee/oily style of Gewurz). Medium/high acidity, typical of cool Anderson Valley wines and a ballerina-like strength and lightness. Fuji apples, green tea and a dash of peppery spice on the finish. Could drink this wine all day and night. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct. It is one of the few wineries that I purchase wine from on a consistent basis. Amazing values, […]
April 22, 2018
Rogstad Pinot Noir Tidrik

ROGSTAD Pinot Noir “Tidrik” 2015

Spot-on tasty, cool climate California Pinot from Napa winemaking veteran Steven Rogstad. Get sappy red cherries and cranberry sauce on the nose along with pretty violet and pink rose notes. There’s a lightness to this wine that borders on ethereal. Bright, solid core of red fruits in the mouth, then savory on the finish with black tea and tarragon peaking in. Has just enough oak to bolster the grape and place. Steven Rogstad is a big “sense of place” proponent, and strives to show that in his Pinot Noirs. He’s done a heck of a job of this in his […]