What lies below is a comprehensive list of TNs taken while on my annual pilgrimage. Good news is that tasting is mostly back to the good ole days there! The quality seems to be very good, improved at the best producers.
Bad news is some less fun changes… Roederer Estate isn’t fun to taste at any more due to change in format, and Phillips Hill is closing up shop. Also, the wine list at the Boonville Hotel has become expensive, even for local wines. The food is better than ever though.
Dach Chardonnay: crystalline straw and floral. Quince green apple lemon plenty of stuffing and high acid finish. Very impressive.
Wahlraven PN: pretty floral, spice, and red fruit nose. Palate is all graceful red fruit and spice, good length and balance here.
Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger Cellars
2017 L’ermitage: a very complete rendition already showing some ripe stone fruit to counter the minerally ginger aromas and long, high acid finish.
2018 Blanc de Noirs: a real knockout from Scharffenberger, the first vintage wine from here since 2010. Showed all the pretty red fruit on the nose and a palate balancing red fruit and citrus. Plenty of length and intrigue, fantastic value at $32
Similar profiles in the 18&20, with really good concentration to the lemon curd and mineral palate. They both have smoky reduction hat takes time to blow off. Once it does the fruit tends toward yellow stone fruit, wonderful ripeness and balance.
The 2019 has more richness and some sweet vanilla barrel notes to complement the yellow orchard fruit. Seems to have less acid than the other years, nice but different in style.
2019 Pinot Noirs
Perli has ripe red and black fruits, a bit of spice and a moderate length to the finish. Very enjoyable if not profound.
Gianoli has some of the richness and dark fruit of the Perli, but complements it with loads of rich earth and damp forest on the nose and palate with a brighter finish. Really nice as usual.
Fashauer remains my favorite of the Pinots this year. It has pretty florals and spice notes, then follows with concentrated red fruit and spice on the palate. Finish is long and fresh.
2019 Zinfandel. Big and burly with piles of blackberries and bramble, plenty of acid and grip to balance.
2021 Pinot Gris: wow, what a wine here. All of the wonderful ripe stone fruits, concentrated and rich with a perfect balanced finish. Probably some RS? But handles it deftly and soars on.
2021 Rose of Pinot: all you can ask for with watermelon and strawberry and lime.
2021 Gewurztraminer: more on the florals here with just a touch of tropical fruit nose. Palate is also leaner with citrus and mineral dominating. These tend to fill out with some time in bottle.
2019 Estate Pinot Noirs
Anderson Valley: apparently less new oak than the estate, but lots of spicy barrel notes on the nose and palate, with some sweet cherry fruit and moderate length. The oak really dominates at this point.
Estate: this is said to be half new oak, but it seems far more integrated. Maybe a touch of spice on the nose alongside floral and red fruits. Palate follows with good length to the red fruit, spice and earth. Textbook AV to me.
Hungarian Oak: all new barrels here and it shows, though in a different vein than the French oak of the other wines. This has caramel and toffee on the nose, quite soft and warm. Plenty of baking spice on the palate that takes precedence over the dark red fruits. A nice wine and a distant second place.
2019 Merlot (Alexander Valley): purchased fruit from Geyserville, and pretty textbook ripe plum and dusty cocoa with a good amount of tannic spine and acid to balance. Surprisingly attractive given my preferences!
Joined by fellow Berserker KatieD. Had to ride my bike and showed up a bit late…oops! Bittersweet final visit here as they are closing up shop by the end of the season. Their 2021 will be the last wines sold, and the quantities are minuscule at 100 cases per wine.
2018 Valenti: classic herbaceous and mint notes from this vineyard. The palate has plenty of tart red fruit alongside more spice and mint, bright mineral finish.
2016&2019 Anderson Valley: blend of Roma and Day Ranch with a little Oppenlander. The 2016 is fully resolved and settled in with balanced richness to the red fruit and earth notes, while the 2019 has the youthful vigor and bright red fruit components that grab my attention. It also has more floral aromas and I definitely prefer it.
2021 Boontling: the village wine here, but certainly no slouch. It has fun and fresh red and black fruits with lovely balance. Always a treat.
2019 Oppenlander: quite an expansive nose of earth and spice and dark red fruit. Palate has concentrated strawberry, pure as always, with a long finish and perfect balance. Keeps getting better over days open.
2020 Oppenlander Chardonnay: pear is the prominent note at this time, complemented by length and depth and mineral spine. This is a wonderful Chardonnay and they are the only ones who get the fruit.
2018 Valenti: spicy red fruit with the classic mint and mountain top scrub aromas. The palate matches with tart red fruit, celery stalk, mineral and chewy tannin.
2018 Oppenlander: just can’t beat the combination of earthy aromas and the wild strawberry notes that permeate throughout. In the right hands this vineyard always sings. A beautiful example of north coast pinot.
2018 Langley: this one also has really pure red fruits and a bit of spice. A perfectly good pinot noir that can be a bit one dimensional.
Boonville Road Wine
Thanks to Berserker Ed for making the drive from Ukiah to bring me my BD2021 purchases!!! I was supposed to grab them last summer but the trip got canceled so here we are. He brought along a few others to taste.
2018 Grenache: super stuff with bright pure raspberry fruit and a complement of spice. This is excellent on first taste and even better two days later, where the fruit gains and the bright long finish sings on.
2021 SBW: this has the good smooth red fruits and great balance of the Grenache, but adds a bit of youthful zing and a complement of spice and darker berry fruit. Stays super fresh throughout.
2021 Cabernet Franc: mostly darker fruit here and just a tiny hidden flash of a fresh tobacco leaf, while the palate has good depth of dark fruit, mineral, and still quite chewy tannin. Nice wine!
Tasted through quite a few wines here as always, but will just list a few of particular interest this time around.
2021 Chardonnay Premier Reserve: excellent depth and concentrated lemon, creamy balance to anotherwise high acid expression.
2021 Rose of Sangiovese: from old plantings in warmer inland vineyards. Beautiful red fruits, easy going, all around delicious.
2019 Pinot Methode: estate pinot that had plenty of dark red fruit and spice, but the barrel notes were a bit intrusive and it felt a bit too weighty.
2022 Pinot Deep End (barrel tasting): woah, hands down the best young pinot I have tasted from Navarro. High acid and great freshness to the concentrated red fruit.
2018 Gewurztraminer Cluster Select: full botrytis on this and the Riesling of the same year, but this had none of the cloying sweetness of that wine. The honey and stone fruit dominate the varietal notes for now, but it has great balance.
Fathers and Daughters
Guy was gracious enough to host us up above Ferrington vineyard to taste through some of the wines. Of course, Ferrington is well known for all the non-local wines made from the fruit. But there are a couple local examples, and I wanted to check these out since the winemaker is Phil Baxter.
Sarahs Rustic Bubbles: fun and fresh and a bit tart, a very refreshing pet nat style bubbly. As stated by Guy, it does in fact go great with donut holes.
Sauvignon Blanc: mineral laced, lively, with a good bit of citrus fruit and florals. This is what I want in SB. More akin to Loire in style with a hint of Cali sunshine.
Rose of Zinfandel: all the lovely red fruit and tart cherry and strawberry. Well balanced and bright. Great warm weather treat.
Ferrington PN 2019: floral and spice with darker red fruit on the nose. Plenty of earth and spice to go along with dark red fruits on the palate. A deft touch given the much bigger style that this vineyard can produce.
2017 Kobler Cider: this was the most complex and delicious cider I have ever had. Spice and sweet fruit balanced by very high acid and a perception of a dry finish. That was fun!
Other wines had during the trip…
Dom Monts Luisants MSD 1er 2005: two bottles from auction, both dead and gone. Worst purchase in a long time
2007 Dom Maison Blanche Blanchots VV Chablis GC: two bottles from the same lot that clearly define premox in white burgundy. These wines are Billaud Simon relabeled for export btw…I have bought 15 of these and other from a collection on WineBid. The first bottle open shows gold in the glass and has oxidized caramel and bruised apple nose and a palate that is less gone but still exhibiting the oxidized apple. Second bottle is correct, almost too young! Pours a relatively pale straw color and screams class and grace from the outset. Mineral, cream, lemon, white flowers on the nose. The palate has great depth, concentrated fruit that progressed from ripe yellow apple to stone fruit over three days open. The finish is electric and has the excellent tension of a very good Chablis.