Marketing gurus of the international wine biz have tried to convince consumers that hefty, monster bottles correlate with high quality wine regardless of the bottles' actual contents. We recently weighed a fancy bottle of Spanish Rioja. The bottle was a hefty 2.8 pounds as compared to this bantamweight bottle weighing in at a trim 1.0 pounds. That's an extra 21.6 pounds per case just for appearances which seems wasteful and downright silly. The reduced carbon footprint appeals to us and we think our Navarro friends are smart enough to realize the ecological advantage of lighter packaging. The grapes were harvested cold then destemmed into small vats. The must was punched down by hand to keep the tannins supple, tenderly aged in world class French oak barrels, and then unpretentiously bottled in a lightweight bottle. The 2008 cuvée is from nine different clones of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir on five different rootstocks, and has lingering cherry-blueberry flavors with a backdrop of vanilla, bacon, cedar and toast.
The insides of expensive French oak barrels are charred over oak fires so a smoky quality is imparted to wines aged in barrels. Over 2,000 forest wildfires contributed to smoky skies over most of California in summer 2008. Grapevines are living organisms and what happens in their environment matters. For a complete discussion of this issue and how Navarro dealt with the travails of the 2008 vintage see www.navarrowine.com/vintage2008.
Pinot Noir's name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black"; the tight clusters are in the shape of a pine cone and the dark purple fruit almost looks black.
Although Mother Nature dealt us difficult cards during the 2008 vintage, this appealing wine is a lucky bet for everyday drinking. The bottling is lighter than usual because of our efforts to ameliorate the blow of a difficult season. Consequently, we are offering our Mailing List friends house-wine prices until July 31. Silver Medal winner.
Here's a barrel's eye view of a winemaker. Several vineyards that normally are part of our Méthode à l'Ancienne cuvée, are included in this 2008 Mendocino bottling; consequently, the wine was aged with a higher percentage in new French oak barrels than normal.