May 12, 2020
Onward Petillant Naturel

Onward Pétillant Naturel Rosé of Pinot Noir 2018

Rusty orange color like Provence Rosé. Spicy, savory aroma of cherry skins, ruby grapefruit zest, arugula and pomegranate. Tasty, non-fruity flavors of dry herbs de Provence, red apples, spiced cherry, crushed almonds and cherry pit. Delicious non-fruity flavors, textured and multi-dimensional. Not your fruity, easy going bottle of bubbles…this is a sparkling wine for grown-ups. Here’s a primer on Pétillant Naturel if you need it. Onward and Farmstrong Wines is the creation and passion of winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster. I very much like her vineyard-driven winemaking and affinity for the esoteric while not being too much “out there.” Oh yeah, […]
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 […]
April 21, 2020
Navarro Pinot Noir

Navarro Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 2018

Pretty, cool-climate Pinot Noir, light and refreshing with an element of intensity. Wild red cherries, crisp raspberries, black tea, garden thyme. Lightly framed by French oak – I don’t know but it tastes like a very low amount of new oak used, which is good. This would make a perfect by the glass pour at any California bistro or at a picnic. Review made the day after opening, giving this young wine time to open up.  Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct in California and miniscule distribution outside the state. It is one of the few wineries that I purchase […]
April 20, 2020
Navarro Cluster Select Late Harvest

Navarro Cluster Select Late Harvest Riesling

Botrytis-heavy, late harvest grapes from Navarro’s vineyards harvested primarily for their dry Riesling. Honeyed green apple, lemon-lime, mandarin orange, lemon verbena. High sugar, high glycerine, core of acidity to support the wine. This is a mouthful of fun. Navarro also bottles this wine in 750 ML bottles and sell it for $70. I base my value rating and value category on the 375 ML bottle. It’s true that dessert wines take longer to drink than dry wines. The good news is that the sugar is a preservative: Keep the open bottles in the wine and they stay almost as good […]
November 11, 2019
Navarro Vineyard

A Great Case of Navarro Wine

This is Season 1, Chapter 6 of Dan The Wine Man, a feature written for The Napa Valley Register and other media outlets. My angles are 1) Anyone can drink unique, delicious wines and I’ll show you how, and 2)  I include guidance on how to find the wines I recommend. It’s 4-6 wines each time. Hope you like it and buy my picks! Here’s the article on NapaValleyRegister.com.  A Great Case of Navarro Wine Writing today’s column is a cruise down Easy Street. I’m a humongous fan of Navarro Winery from the cool confines of Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. I […]
May 7, 2018
Frogs Leap Rose

Frog’s Leap Rosé 2017

Stalwart Napa winery gets Carignane (92%) and Valdiguie (8%) to make their purposeful Rosé. “Provencal style,” in the words of Frog’s Leap founder, owner and co-winemaker John Williams. This has a light orange/brick red color then gentle aromas of lavender, strawberry, thyme, orange tea and crushed white peppercorns. Taste is more of the same, falling as much into the citrus as the red berry fruits. It has subtle flavors yet a mighty intensity. I put this in my “the drier the better” style of Rosé. “Le Grenouille Rouganté” = “the blushing frog. Rosé is a blush…. More Information I am […]
February 15, 2018
Somm Blanc 2015

SOMM BLANC “Old Vines” 2015

Somm Blanc is 80% Sauvignon Blanc from “Lolonis Vineyard” Redwood Valley (organic, very old vines) and 20% Semillon from “Yount Mill Vineyard” Yountville, Napa Valley (also organic and old vine). Half oak barrel, half steel barrel ferment, light skin contact, lees-stirred. It’s “Bordeaux-Style” winemaking. This is fantastic – fruit flavors of grapefruit, pear skins and Meyer lemons with a long savory finish that reminds me of a salted pretzel. High acidity starts the wine, then bread, dried flowers and blanched almonds finish it off. At $24 this is an unbelievable wine.   About Somm Blanc Somm Blanc is owned and […]