Mendocino currently has eight sub-AVA's, which is short for American Viticultural Areas: Anderson Valley, Ukiah Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Mc Dowell Valley, Sanel Valley, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino Ridges and Cole Ranch. Naturally Navarro is pretty proud of our Anderson Valley appellation; we were among the original petitioners to the federal government which established our area as a unique winegrowing region in the early eighties. But our sense of community spills beyond the borders of Anderson Valley and we feel downright lucky to have neighbors from inland Mendocino who sell us beautiful, old-vine zinfandel grapes. The Tollini family planted their grapes in the early 1930's, fifty years before anyone even thought up AVA's, and their vines make up 20% of this wine. The grapes that the Berry family farms were planted in the 1940's; their luscious, dark fruit makes up the rest of the blend.
In addition to farming, Ed Berry has donated countless hours to the community as the first President of the Mendocino Wine Commission. There is currently a lively debate among the county's winemakers over a conjunctive-labeling proposal which would require all eight of the county's AVA's to also list Mendocino on their labels.
Sarah is currently serving as Vice President of the Mendocino Wine Commission and is filling her weekends this spring by training as an Anderson Valley volunteer firefighter.
The Tollini fruit, from a site slightly more northeast, was ripe a full week before the Berry fruit, making it clear that even within a sub-AVA, micro-climates vary. Navarro fermented the two Zins in open top tanks and aged the wine for ten months in seasoned French oak. This heritage red has friendly flavors of blackberries, huckleberries and cinnamon bark. Open a bottle for your friends with your next pasta dinner and it will remind you that it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Gold Medal winner.
The best way to appreciate a vineyard is to walk it during every season over several years. Navarro's winemaker, Jim Klein, has been observing Al Tollini's vineyard for 10 years and he and Al have a shared vision for the vines and wine.