2015 Navarro Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Méthode A L’Ancienne, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County.
One of California’s best value Pinots, the Navarro Anderson Valley is a classic wine with very ripe opulence and satiny texture, especially with this 2015 version, which is beautifully full, expressive and full of rich details. This wine is a no brainer when you see it on a restaurant wine list, it’s a low quilt and quality treat with lush textures, warm and generous fruit and delicate spice as well as well judged wood notes. Not far from the Mendocino coast and set in the middle of the Anderson Valley, Navarro Vineyards is a long time local legend and place you must stop at when in the area, they have a vast array of wines to sample with their off-dry Gewürztraminer and this Méthode A L’Ancienne Pinot Noir being two of my favorites to pick up at their tasting room on Hwy 128 in Philo, not too far away Boonville. The family, including Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn, Aaron and Sarah Cahn Bennett run Navarro and are always smiling faces at the winery, which also produce old vine Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Cabernet, A Brut Sparkler, Rosé, their Alsace style Edelzwicker, a top end reserve style Pinot Noir called Deep End Blend as well as a crisp and dry version of Riesling just to name a few! Navarro discovered early on that Pinot Noir wine tastes and smells less manipulated if the fermenting must is punched down by hand rather than using modern pumps, so hence the name and style on the Methode A L’Anicienne, they are looking to capture the purest essence of the vintage and keep a sense of place and while the 2015 is forward in style it has a lovely balance and seamless layers with 40% new French oak, which is way up from normal as the crop was smaller and more concentrated and soaked up the wood well. The Navarro 2015 comes in at under 14%, but feels luxurious on the palate, almost thick with black cherry, plum and raspberry fruits cascading in the mouth with a lush impact along with hints of cedar, tea spices, rose petals, cola bean and smoky vanilla. Not overly complex, but easy to love and rewarding this Navarro Pinot should be enjoyed sooner v. later, over the next 2 or 3 years.
($28 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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