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Navarro 2006 Dry Gewürztraminer (Anderson Valley) – Some peach, some almond, some lychee bark, some structure. Some, some, some. That, to me, is the story of so many of Navarro’s wines…which I always like, but rarely think are what they could be. (6/11)

Cluster bomb

[grapes]Navarro 1997 Gewürztraminer “Late Harvest Cluster Select” (Anderson Valley) – 375 ml., 9.6%. Fully mature, and very impressive, with dark bronzed lychee met in equal measure by freshly-dug black truffle, old peach liqueur (minus the heat), and exotic nut oils. Very sweet, but nicely balanced, long, and laden with spice. (9/08)

Off the

[vineyard]Navarro 1998 Pinot Noir “Deep-End Blend” (Anderson Valley) – 13.9%. Very advanced on the nose, and browning, at first opening. Don’t be fooled, as this is a massive deception. With air, the wine takes on flesh, fat, and power, bringing dark – and, truth be told, somewhat obvious – fruit of the fat, Central Valley berry type to the palate, with hints of freshly-ground coffee bean, bitter chocolate, raw morel, and molten glass. It’s very, very intense, and really shouldn’t be opened anytime soon. In fact, air only serves to anger and intensify the fruit, while the structure – still fully intact – shows no signs of dissipating. All that said, I don’t know if there’s complexity or “pinosity” here; the wine seems to take abrupt, noisily-accomplished steps towards all the things that make pinot noir compelling, without any of the accompanying intellectualization or complexity that one expects from the grape and the region. I suspect a little too much effort in the cellar, and I wonder if this might not be the fate of many highly-touted New World pinots of similar ilk. Still, one could do profoundly worse, and while the wine bears the imprint of work, it is in no way trafficked or steroidal. It’s just big and more than a little buffoonish, yet full of skill. It’s Boo Weekley in a bottle. (10/08)