Monday, July 09, 2007

Drinking Local: Navarro Gewurztraminer

Given my temporary hiatus away from LA, it seems appropriate to take advantage of local wines that are often hard to find in my usual shops. So don't be too surprised to see more Sonoma and Mendocino wine reviews over the next few months.

My most recent find came from the small town of Philo (population 473) up in Mendocino, where Navarro Vineyards are located. I'm not going to say too much about the winery here, because I'll be traveling up there in August to do a Winery Watch report. But because this is such a perfect summer wine, I'm going to get a little bit ahead of myself and post a review of a fabulous gewurztraminer made by Navarro now. (picture of the hilly areas around Navarro's vineyards, courtesy of Mendo Wine Tours).

The 2005 Navarro Gewurztraminer Cuvee Traditional ($14 from Navarro) is a superb example of this relatively underplanted varietal. Made in the dry style, it has lovely aromas of apples, honeysuckle and a touch of lemon blossom. It's like tasting the Mendocino countryside! These aromas develop into flavors dominated by apple, accented with white pepper. This was a wine with lots of complexity and appeal, at a very attractive price. And I loved the spicy, peppery edge that can so often be missing in domestic gewurztraminer. Excellent QPR, as is true with most Navarro wines. This is a producer to watch out for, since their wines almost always represent excellent quality and value.

Gewurztraminer, like dry riesling, can be an excellent food wine.We had this with some soy-marinated shrimp that we threaded onto skewers and popped on the grill, some steamed jasmine rice, and a vegetable stir-fry. The wine really went well with the mix of flavors, and it drew out the spicy notes in the stir-fry and the shrimp.

Navarro Vineyards wins high praise from Dan Berger in the Wine Report 2007, where the Vineyard is featured as one of the greatest California producers, producing some of the greatest wines, the best bargains, and the most exciting or unusual wines. They sell direct to consumers through their online wine shop, so if you can't wait until next month for the report, have a browse around their shop now. You'll be staggered at the variety and the wallet-friendly prices. And if you have a Navarro favorite, leave a note in the comments below.


Anonymous said...

A woman after my own heart. I adore Navarro, especially the Gewurz! Mendocino/Anderson Valley is the next destination on my wine wish list.

Dr. Debs said...

Farley, it's SUCH a good wine. And the Gewurz--to die for. I'm headed up there in August for a taste and a tour. They don't charge for their tastings--hooray!--and will arrange tours for you if you make arrangements in advance.

Anonymous said...

their pinot noir methode ancienne (sic, I think) is an amazing value. It's also one of my favorite wineries to visit as it's a perfect stop for a picnic and a rest about halfway between Santa Rosa and Mendocino. Plus the people are nice and they are dog-friendly.

Dr. Debs said...

Hey, JohnG! Good to see you. I agree: their pinot maybe the best value pinot around today. I'm looking forward to my visit in August. I've got dachshunds, too, but they are NOT going up there in the car with me!