Tasting Report: Wines of Mendocino 2012

A trip to Mendocino is a bit of an annual pilgrimage now, and every time I visit the area I love to check out old favorites and wines that are newer to me. I’d encountered all of the wines below at least once, but this was my first visit to a few, including Esterlina, which requires a lengthy drive up a mountainous dirt road, and where you are treated to a private tasting complete with Cheetos. The Esterlina house cat, Queen Elizabeth, spent the better part of an hour purring in my lap while I tasted through a wide range of Anderson Valley (and other) wines. You don’t get that in Napa, folks.

Thoughts on everything tasted follow.

Tasting Report: Wines of Mendocino – 2012 Road Trip

2010 Esterlina Chardonnay Sonoma County / $30 / B / touches of wood, modest body and fruit — apple, grapefruit
2010 Esterlina Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Estate  / $48 / B+ / slightly tight, some smokiness and leather, modest core, needs time
2008 Esterlina Reserve Pinot Noir Cole Ranch / $65 / B+ / some menthol, mild campfire notes, plum, restrained
2007 Esterlina Merlot Cole Ranch / $28 / A- / lots of baking spice, big body, blackberries
2008 Esterlina Syrah Janian Vineyard / $35 / B+ / touches of smoke, tart, modest fruit
2007 Esterlina Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley / $42 / B+ / blueberry nose, good extraction, touch of cedar box
2008 Esterlina Mario’s Gran Rojo Alexander Valley / $38 / B+ / deep smoke, chewy, good balance
2010 Esterlina Off-Dry Riesling Cole Ranch / $NA / A- / very refreshing, sweet honey
2011 Esterlina Dry Riesling Cole Ranch / $22 / A- / lots of minerals, dry, lychee finish
2011 Esterlina Rose of Pinot Noir / $18 / A- / corn tortilla notes, enchilada sauce, strawberries, very exotic
2009 Londer Dry Gewurztraminer / $24 / B+ / modest aromatics and acid
2010 Londer Ferrington Vineyard Chardonnay / $30 / B+ / heavy oak, lots of bitterness on finish, some herbs
2009 Londer Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay / $39 / B+ / drying, plenty of oak, balanced as it finishes
2009 Londer Sweet Gewurztraminer / $30 / B+ / fresh, mild sugars (5%), substantial herbal notes
2010 Londer Anderson Valley Pinot Noir / $30 / B+ / quite tart, cranberry, mild finish
2009 Londer Paraboll Pinot Noir / $48 / B+ / lots of herbs, licorice, candied violets, touches of smoke and tobacco
2009 Londer Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir / $48 / A- / menthol, light body, delicate, some forest and pine tree notes on the finish
2009 Londer Londer Estate Grown Pinot Noir / $48 / A- / tough edge, rich, big fruit and a long finish
2009 Navarro Chardonnay / $25 / A- / honey heavy
2010 Navarro Chardonnay / $17 / B / lots of fruit, aromatics
2011 Navarro Sauvignon Blanc / $18 / A- / very fresh
2010 Navarro Gewurztraminer Estate Bottled (Dry) / $19 / A / lush, made for curry
2010 Navarro Gewurztraminer Cuvee Traditional / $15 / B+ / considerably sweeter
2011 Navarro Edelzwicker / $14 / B+ / subdued, less tropical influence than usual
2010 Navarro Pinot Noir / $20 / A- / fresh, very light
2009 Navarro Pinot Noir Methode a l’Ancienne / $29 / B+ / lots of jam
2009 Navarro Shiraz / $17 / B /
2009 Navarro Syrah / $27 / B+ / cherry, modest spice
2007 Navarro Cabernet Sauvignon / $29 / B / very young, dark chocolate/cherry
2006 Navarro Gewurztraminer Late Harvest (375ml) / $29 / B / 20% sugar, great in small quantities
2007 Navarro Riesling Cluster Select Late Harvest (375ml) / $29 / C / corky and funky
2007 Navarro Pinot Noir Methode a l’Ancienne / $29 / B+ / same rating as I gave it last year; very similar to 2009
2009 Navarro Gewurztraminer Late Harvest (375ml) / $19 / A- / fresh (8% sugar), very drinkable
2006 Navarro Riesling Cluster Select Late Harvest (375ml) / $29 / C+ /
2008 Indian Creek Pinot Noir / $NA / D / (second label of Navarro for forest fire-year wine)
2011 Foursight Charles Vineyard Vin Gris of Pinot Noir / $25 / B / white Pinot Noir; very odd, burly fruit, brooding finish
2010 Foursight Charles Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc / $20 / B+ / lots of honey, floral notes, unusual
2010 Foursight Charles Vineyard Semillon / $28 / B+ / plenty of lemon, big structure and finish
2009 Foursight Zero New Oak Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir / $38 / B+ / big chocolate and cherry on nose, monster body, menthol
2009 Foursight Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir / $46 / A- / tart and young, still brash; strawberry, complex
2010 Foursight Clone 05 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir / $49 / A- / Burgundy style, terroir-laden; big body with lots of fruit
2007 Foursight All-In Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir / $46 / A / mellowing well, showing great now, wonderful balance

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