2004 Navarro Pinot Noir Methode Alancienne

Price: $25.00 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per Wine Spectator “My favorite Navarro Pinot of all time. High-toned black cherry and wild berry flavors are intense and concentrated, with hints of hazelnut and spice. Wonderful balance, focus and length. Should age well, too.” – James Laube, January, 10 2007 (92 points, $25)

What I Think:

The winery called this one the “Rural Legend”. I have tasted this back to 1996 and have a few cases worth of bottles from various years in my cellar. Perhaps a time to show that I am truly just a consumer. While Mr. Laube lauds it as the best ever I am pessimistic. Perhaps it will get better with age but for the time being this seems much “thinner” than what I am used to for this bottling. The typical flavor profile as I recall is intense cherry fruit towards the front that fades to a more herbal finish that lingers on. This one doesn’t quite seem to peak as high as I remember. That said, they deserve the benefit of the doubt on this one (as long as I don’t have to pay for another bottle).  I will taste it again when I go to their annual barbeque in August.

Rating: Not for Me (for the time being)

2004 Castineira Albarino Dry White Wine

Price: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per quaffability “Lately it seems like Albarino is mostly famous for being unknown — or is that an oxymoron? Whatever, it’s a great varietal that more people should try, especially of they’re looking for solid, food-friendly wines at budget prices. The first time I tried an Albarino, I thought of Sauvignon Blanc crossed with dry Reisling, and that’s what you usually get, a nice balance between the floral/mineral elements of Riesling and the citrusy element of Sauvignon Blanc.

This Spanish wine might be best consumed in a darkened room, as the color is a disturbingly electric yellow. The nose is muted, but shows pretty aromas of orange blossoms, lemon, and gravel. It’s rounder and more forward on the palate, with nice balance, good flavors, really good texture, and a surprisingly long finish marked by grapefruit rind.

This is an appealing wine that drinks well by itself or at the table, and it’s an outstanding value. Drinking it, I thought I really need to be drinking more whites, and more Albarino, when I’m looking for good wines under $10.”

What I Think:

I am a bit of a sucker for Spanish wines, lets get that out of the way upfront. That being said this is an excellent wine, especially at this price point. It has all the characteristics of a nice Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. Nice and dry in the mouth with that nice mineral undertone and freshness cutting across the palate lingering on for quite some time. I just finished my last bottle of this and returned from the local TJ’s with a 2005 version that has a much prettier label…this is usually a bad sign.  Here’s to hoping it is just as good.

Rating: Bulk Buy

2004 Charles Creek Las Patolitas Chardonnay

Price: $21.99 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “Vanilla and honey are the first impressions when approaching our Las Patolitas 2004 Chardonnay. The aromas of peach and summer soon follow as the wine opens and reveals the complexity of this hand crafted Chardonnay. The flavors are pure Chardonnay; fruit forward and brimming with vanilla and mineral. Bright mineral structure defines the lush plump flavors, followed in the palate with a full mouth feel. The finish is well defined and satisfying, with lingering peach and vanilla.”

What I Think:

Had a friend bring this over and it was quite nice. He picked it up at the winery. It was quite nice for Chardonnay, not one of my favorites, especially the California variety. This has a nice mineral undertone and minimized the amount of Oak. I was amazed to the see in the write up the number of different vineyards that are included in this bottle. A bit “dear” on the price tag but certainly a worth while wine.

Rating: Pricey