2005 Navarro Mendocino Pinot Noir

Price: $14.25 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “We’ve been in the wine business for over thirty years so we have seen some pretty wild swings in supply and demand. In 1974 people thought we were foolish planting Pinot Noir in the Anderson Valley especially since the experts had previously recommended Cabernet Sauvignon and French Colombard. Our decision has since been validated as vineyard after vineyard in the Anderson Valley is now being planted with Pinot Noir. The downside of the popularity and growing reputation of Anderson Valley Pinot is that the price of the grapes has skyrocketed. Check out the competition; it is hard to find a Pinot Noir for less than $20. If you try to buy a French Burgundy you will be paying twice, thrice and upward. Despite consistently selling out of Pinot Noir we are committed to keeping prices reasonable so that all of our good customers from our earlier, leaner years can still afford Navarro wines. 89% of this wine was grown right here in the Anderson Valley.

It was aged for ten months in seasoned French oak barrels adding toast and vanilla flavors to Pinot’s berry and plum core. You shouldn’t have to plan a white-tie dinner to open a bottle of Pinot Noir; this wine tastes great when you are garbed in blue jeans and a tee shirt. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.”

What I Think:

The winery called this one “Fanfare for the common man”. It seems that they are finding it increasingly difficult to make a Pinot at this price point given the varietals overall trajectory especially coupled with the growing acclaim of the Anderson Valley and Mendocino in this arena. Given that I enjoyed the ’04, still have half a case or so, I was looking forward to getting into this one.

In a word this wine is delicate. You can tell from the second you see it in the glass. The color is very light. On the nose again you get light fruit and once on the palate further confirmed, as strawberry and raspberry appear front and center. We had this with salmon which was a worthy pairing though the yogurt sauce my wife often uses through it some fits. On day 2 the wine was showing a little more, it had integrated nicely and was much more well rounded. You get a big nose full of cherries and loads of light fruit forward on the tongue. The mid-palate starts to show some vanilla and other qualities I would describe as almost barrel like which linger on through the finish. Still a bit left so perhaps I will open one of those ‘04’s for a side by side comparison…See the 2004 write-up if you are interested in the results. All in all, this wine is a quality effort though not on the same level as a year earlier. I have a few $10 bottles of Pinot waiting in the rack that I would have to imagine are on the same level as this one so I’m going to call it “Pricey”.

Rating: Pricey

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