2001 Martin & Weyrich Nebbiolo “Il Vecchio” Reserve

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

nothing here for you other than the tasting notes for the 2002, this ’01 appears to be non-existent or disowned by the winery…

What I Think:

You are probably saying the same thing that I was, a Nebbiolo at Trader Joe’s? From California? For $7? Aren’t those supposed to be from Italy and cost a fortune? What in the world? Aw heck! I might as well give it a try. If for nothing else for novelties sake. That is a glance at what went on in my head for about 10 seconds before this bottle ended up in my cart. Some initial research showed that the winery was selling the 2000 on their site for $15 and the 2002 for $22 (but $99 a case) so my guess was that they were having a hard time moving these wines. A few days later a York Mountain Viognier showed up as well as a Matador Rose from this same winery so guessing that was the case.

Now onto the main event! This is a nice effort and enjoyable for its uniqueness above all else. That said I would guess this is strikingly new world in style. Given my lack of experience with Nebbiolo I don’t have much to base that on other than that I was expecting a more complex, tannic offering rather than a straight forward drinker that went down without even tickling the throat. I found an interesting post comparing drinking the ’03 vintage of this one side by side with an Italian version here. Sadly this has disappeared since I grabbed this bottle as I would surely do so again. It would be fun to give to my friend who enjoys high-priced Nebbiolo as a blind gift to see what he thinks. Alas, doesn’t look like that is going to happen as this already appears to be gone.  Should it reappear I surely would give it a spot it in my Top 10 list. If you see this first grab a bottle for yourself, then let me know!

Rating: Buy It

2001 Navarro Pinot Noir Methode Alancienne

Price: $23.00 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “Delicate floral scents edge this pinot, its light but piercingly long flavors extended by the cool, coastal nights of the Anderson Valley. The texture is firm, the flavors are crisp as red apple and tart as tangerine. Dusty tannins in the end will focus those flavors on veal and mushrooms. – Wine & Spirits Magazine, “The Year’s Best Pinot Noir”, January 2004.

Fresh and fragrant, with snappy black cherry and wild berry fruit that offers a hint of jam. Focused and persistent, with fine-grained tannins, and a whiff of blueberry on the finish adding to the complexity. Drink now through 2008. – James Laube, Wine Spectator, April 30, 2004.

What I Think:

Ahh, your first love. Had to go back to it for my first post. I found Navarro way back when I stumbled upon my first Wine Spectator. I could go get the article as I still have it upstairs now. I believe James Laube wrote it. Anyhow soon after we headed up to Mendocino and stopping there was priority #1 and #2. Don’t tell the wife as the purpose of the trip was to write wedding vows. The first night we went to a great restaurant and had dinner outside on the patio and a bottle of the 1999 vintage. Two days later we were at the winery (this is in 2003) joined the club and to some extent the rest is history. I have since started a vertical of this wine and have at least one bottle all the way back to 1996. They make three different versions with this being the mid range. The basic is the low end and the the “Deep End” is the top. Unfortunately you can find this wine pretty much only at the winery. I find it at some restaurants in the Bay Area, not sure if this is true elsewhere. Even saw it in a wine shop once.

Now onto the wine, this one is predisposed to a cellar rating as I have been working my way through a case over the years. This has most of what I love in a wine. It has cherries up front, in a very deep fashion that peak before fading into an herbal finish that lasts for quite some time.

Be sure to try Navarro wines and better yet stop by the winery if you can

Rating: Cellar It