Navarro's tasting room sits directly across the street from Edmeades Vineyard—the first of the "modern day" vintners to plant grapes in Anderson Valley. They were advised to plant Cabernet Sauvignon which they planted in 1966. The grapes never reached full ripeness in our cool, coastal viticultural climate; consequently the vines were eventually removed and the vineyard was replanted, most recently to Pinot Noir. Planting Cabernet Sauvignon in 1966 in Anderson Valley seemed like a poor decision but climate change suggests it might not be the case in 2022. While it is now warm enough most years to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon and other warm-weather varieties in Philo, Cabernet would still be a questionable choice because autumn nights in Anderson Valley are unusually cold and Cabernet's pyrazines could dominate the flavor profile—vegetal, bell pepper or green beans.
Ed Berry, owner, on the gondola managing harvest. Ed is serious and hardworking and the vineyard reflects his commitment.
Rattlesnake Canyon is comprised of two steep, terraced hillsides facing each other and they are harvested, fermented and aged as separate lots. A third block—not shown—is located below the terraced vines and is much flatter with richer soils.
Navarro's Cabernet is grown at Berry Vineyards in Talmage, which boasts a warmer climate than Anderson Valley. The field we like is appropriately named Rattlesnake Canyon; boots and caution required. The vineyard contains three blocks and we ferment and age each as a separate wine. Two of the blocks on steep, terraced hillsides produce ripe fruit with a desired fruity flavor profile with limited pyrazines—these form Navarro's Cabernet. The wine from the third block, grown on richer soils, tastes excessively vegetal so was not included in this bottling. This vintage has tamed tannins, moderate alcohol with flavors suggesting black cherry, chocolate, licorice and mint. Gold Medal winner. 91 points.