Ramble On

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Stop at Navarro Vineyards

 If there is a single winery in the Anderson Valley that symbolizes the region, in my mind that would be Navarro, which has a tasting room right on Route 128 in Philo.  I wrote about the stop Mary and I made last month at Roederer, and that one is very special to us - but Navarro is also a "must stop" for us whenever we cruise through that area.

The first photo here is an example of what many of the vineyards in this area look like - there are those brown hills everywhere topped with oaks and pines.  The vines are more mature and the trees have grown up; otherwise this is a view we remember from the first time we stopped here in 1995!  Nowadays, you often see vineyards climbing these hills - that was a new development for us - we learned that there are a lot of new vineyards in this area.

We stopped for a tasting at Navarro, and while we were there, they introduced us to a new feature at the vineyard, artisanal cheeses.  Many of the families that have vineyards here also have flocks of sheep and herds of goats to help tend the vines.  One of the family members has launched this cheese business as a side line - we may even have enjoyed some of these goods during the picnic at Roederer.

It was here at Navarro that we first learned about the emerging Pinot Noir trend at the California vineyards, and some of the other varieties like Shiraz and Syrah.  Most of the wine here is sold direct, and Navarro keeps an excellent website about their operation - it is a cross between a blog and ecommerce site, in a style that I really enjoy.  We used to order cases of these wines, splitting them with a few friends here in Alexandria - the website is here:  http://www.navarrowine.com/main.php

We had a little chat with the host, and compared the California wine industry with the one we love in Virginia - certainly, we see goat and sheep as part of the farm in a lot of the Virginia locales (especially our neighbors, Wisteria).  But then they told us that Navarro has 1,200 acres in cultivation, and that they are considered a small California vineyard!  That would be an immense operation in Virginia!

Once we'd enjoyed the tasting (wine and cheese!) we were back on the way, headed for Oakland.  We planned to use that as our base for daytripping over to San Francisco for the last phase of the vacation.  Those experiences will make up my last few posts about the trip.

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