Tasting Report: Taste of Mendocino 2010
Who knew there was this much wine in Mendocino? When I strolled into this event 45 minutes before it was set to end, I expected to see maybe a dozen winemakers pouring, not 58 producers, some with a dozen wines on their table. Is Mendocino really this big?
I guess so, and it also produces a pretty wild range of wines, too, although pinot noir is the clear focus. Which is great, because I love pinot.
Funny then that some of my favorite wines from this event weren’t pinot noir but blends and other red varietals that aren’t usually associated with Mendocino. Of special note, Yorkville Cellars’ 2006 Richard the Lion Heart, an amazingly balanced and complex blend of cabernet franc, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, merlot, and malbec — and a steal at $36 a bottle. And who knew Mendo could do cab so well? The 2006 McNab Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ranks with the best that Napa is producing and runs just $40.
Notes and full ratings follow.
Complete Tasting Report – Taste of Mendocino 2010
2008 Drew Wines Fog Eater Pinot Noir / $36 / B- / off, sweet and smoky
2008 Drew Wines Valenti Vineyard Pinot Noir / $36 / B- / similar
2007 Esterlina Anderson Valley Pinot Noir / $45 / A- / Burgundy style, soft
2007 Esterlina Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Reserva / $NA / A- / very similar, slightly more tart
2007 Foursight Zero New Oak Pinot Noir / $35 / B+ / tart, cherry
2007 Foursight All-In Pinot Noir / $46 / B / syrupy
2007 Foursight Charles Vineyard Clone 05 Pinot Noir / $NA / B+ / similar to Zero New Oak
2007 Londer Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Noir / $48 / B / on the sweet side
2007 Londer Vineyards Paraboll Pinot Noir / $54 / B+ / quite tart, needs food
2006 Mendielle Vertu Reserve Merlot / $42 / B- / smoky, coconut notes
2007 Navarro Vineyards Mendocino Pinot Noir / $NA / A- / smooth and velvety
2006 Philo Ridge CORO Mendocino / $37 / C+ / hard
2006 Yorkville Cellars Richard the Lion Heart / $36 / A / amazing blend of cab franc, petit verdot, cab sauvignon, carmenere, merlot, and malbec
2002 Roederer L’Ermitage / $47 / B+ / big sweetness in this sparkler
2006 Paul Dolan Deep Red / $45 / B+ / tannic but lush blend of grenache, syrah, and petite syrah
2008 Phillips Hill Beeson Tree Pinot Noir / $40 / B- / like BBQ, sweet and smoky
2008 Phillips Hill Oppenlander Vineyard Pinot Noir / $42 / B / slightly improved
2005 Milano Family Echo / $37 / A- / complex and quite good, very balanced
2006 McNab Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon / $40 / A / a wonderful surprise, lovely with balance and strong fruit
2007 Kimmel Vineyards Merlot / $42 / A- / cocoa notes, some moderate red fruit
2006 Le Vin Winery Syrah / $40 / C+ / funky, like coconuts
2007 Le Vin Winery Cabernet Franc / $NA / B+ / 17.3% alcohol, no sulfites. Port-like
2006 Handley Holmes Ranch Pinot Noir / $40 / B- / thin
2007 GoldenEye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir / $55 / B+
2007 GoldenEye Gowan Creek Pinot Noir / $75 / A- / lovely, modest earth notes
2008 GoldenEye Migration Pinot Noir / $34 / B / smoky and dusty, with a bacon finish
2007 Dogwood Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir / $40 / A- / jammy, almost too sweet
2007 Chiarito Vineyard Nero d’Avola / $36 / A- / lovely, big plum fruit
2007 Chiarito Vineyard Petite Syrah / $35 / B+ / jammy, hints of Zin
2006 Bink Wines Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir / $40 / A- / green finish, but nice fruit
2005 Bonterra The McNab / $45 / B / earthy, with an Italian flair
Navarro’s Pinot Noirs are among my favorites. The 2007 you reviewed here is available from their web site (www.navarrowine.com) for $19/bottle–just over half the price of the least expensive wine in the list. And if you like that, you have to try their Méthode à l’Ancienne Pinot which is even better and still cheaper than anything else on the list. Their best, though, is the Deep End Blend.
I’m not affiliated with Navarro but my wife and I have been in their wine club since we got married down the road in 1993.