More Recently Tasted Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and Mendocino County Pinot Noir
Mojave Wines, Calistoga, California
Rebecca George is the winemaker for Kelly Fleming Wines in Napa Valley, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon
and Sauvignon Blanc. She spent several years working with Burgundian-style wines, including stints at
Domaine Meo-Camuzet in Burgundy, and Williams Selyem and Marcassin in Sonoma County. Pinot Noir is her
true passion and her focus for her personal label, Mojave. She plans to pursue more cool climate sources for
Pinot Noir in the near future. Visit www.mojavewines.com.
2015 Mojave Monument Tree Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 48 cases, $60. Released March 2017. Clones 115 and 667
planted in 1999 in loamy clay and decomposed sandstone soils. 100%
de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, fermented in open-top bin with a mixture
of pump overs and punch downs for 2 weeks. Aged 15 months in French
oak Barrels, one once-used Chardonnay barrel and one neutral Pinot
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is
primary even when checked two days later from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle. There are demure, pleasant aromas of well-ripened
dark fruits. Mid weight plus on the palate with a core of black raspberry
and blackberry fruits framed by balanced tannins. Satiny and sleek in
texture, with charming fruit, good vibrancy and deft oak integration. The
wine is searching for expression at this stage, and presumably will
benefit from more time in bottle.
Navarro Vineyards & Winery, Philo, California
This winery needs no introduction because it is one of Anderson Valley’s longest tenured wineries. The entire
lineup of red and white wines have always been consistently agreeable and often even exceptional, and priced
sensibly. Visit www.navarrovineyards.com.
2014 Navarro Vineyards Deep End Blend Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $55. Sourced from estate, hillside, ocean-view
vineyards (Garden Spot, Marking Corral, Winery & South Hill and Middle
Ridge) with cool marine influence. A cuvée created by blending the
twelve best lots from these hillside vineyards. Four different vineyard
sites, four different Pinot Noir clones, and four different rootstocks.Aged
in French oak barrels, 50% new, for 16 months. Bottled unfiltered.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of black
cherry, baking spices and a hint of toasty oak. Mid weight in style,
featuring generous waves of black cherry, blackberry and spice flavors
that envelope the palate. Velvety in the mouth with soothing tannins and
an opulent black cherry driven finish. The wine can be described in one
word: ephemeral. Even better when tasted two days later from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle. Decant this one to integrate the new oak and bring out the wine’s best
Waits-Mast Family Cellars, San Francisco, California
Brian Mast and spouse Jennifer Waits experienced the romance of wine with visits to the wine regions of
Europe, New Zealand and California. They remark, “Like a verse that haunts you, Pinot Noir kept on finding us,
tapping our shoulder. It was always and remains our favorite varietal.”
In 2005, they began crafting their own Pinot Noir under the guidance of winemakers Scott Shapley and Chris
Nelson at Crushpad in San Francisco. Their early efforts were rewarding, so they launched Waits-Mast Family
Cellars in 2007. The Pinot Noirs are usually 100% de-stemmed and fermentation may be native or inoculated.
The winery looks to vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from special vineyards in Mendocino County. Multiple
wines are offered that are produced in small 50 to 100-case lots. The wines are sold through a mailing list,
online through the website at www.waitsmast.com, and through a limited number of fine retailers and
restaurants. I believe all the wines reviewed here are still available.
2016 Waits-Mast Mendocino County Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 20 cases, $25. A saignée from multiple
vineyard lots across Mendocino County.
Moderate salmon color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of
blood orange, strawberry and pear. Somewhat robust, with flavors of peach, orange peel, baking spice and
cream soda. Nicely balanced and an easy going summertime quaff.
2014 Waits-Mast Mendocino County Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 72 cases, $35. Released June 2016. A blend of
grapes from Mariah Vineyard in Mendocino Ridge and Oppenlander Vineyard in Mendocino County. Harvest
Brix 23º and 24º. Clones 114, 115, 667 and Pommard. Aged 11 months in neutral French oak barrels.
garnet color in the glass. Heavily oaked on the nose with aromas of toast and campfire. Soft in the mouth, with
forward, mid-weight cherry flavor underlain with a thread of oak (less oak on the palate). Agreeable tannins and
a very modest finish.
2014 Waits-Mast Oppenlander Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 165 cases, $45.
Release September 2017.Harvest Brix 22.2º. Clones 115, 667 and Pommard. Aged in French oak barrels,
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasant, but very subdued aromas of dark cherry, spice, fertile
earth and oak. Inviting vibrancy and cut on the finish in a middleweight styled wine with flavors of dark cherry
and berry. An underlying earthy tone and firm tannic support engage the fruit core. Unchanged when tasted the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2013 Waits-Mast Oppenlander Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 153 cases, $44.
Released November 2015. This vineyard is well known although located remotely in the small town of
Comptche, about 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean as the crow flies. The vineyard is owned by the Shandel
family who are fifth generation owners of the property. The vineyard is exposed to marine influence and is quite
cool. Harvest Brix 23.5º. Clones 114, 115 and Pommard, Aged in French oak barreks, 1 and 2-year-old and
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Subdued aromas of black cherry, black berry and Christmas spices.
Earthy and a bit rustic, with mid weight flavors of black cherry and blackberry with a green bramble undertone.
Put together with good harmony, but doesn’t emote.
2014 Waits-Mast Wentzel Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 120 cases, $47. Released
November 2016. Harvest Brix 23.5º Clones 114, 115, 667 and 777. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25%
new. Production was doubled in 2014 and 25% whole clusters added to the fermentation (a rare technique for
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas ob cherry, pine, wood shed
and dried herbs. A little more sap, body, structure and finish in this vintage compared to 2013. Mid weight
flavors of dark red cherries and berries set off with complimentary oak spice. Texturally interesting, with fine-grain
tannins and overall welcome harmony.
2013 Waits-Mast Wentzel Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 120 cases, $47. Released May
2016. This 10-acre vineyard is organically farmed by Roland and Barbara Wentzel. Located near Philo at 900
feet elevation. Fruit for this wine is sourced from a block situated up on the hill and less than an acre in size.
Clones 114, 115, 667 and 777. Some fruit is also sourced from Lookout block, Dijon 667. 100% de-stemmed.
Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas
of leaf, barrel, and red cherry with a subtle medicinal note. Light to mid weight in style, with flavors of red
raspberry, cranberry, blueberry and Crimini mushroom. Modest tannins, with some finishing purpose. This wine
has some charm, but not the flavor to full entice.
2014 Waits-Mast Deer Meadows Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 144 cases, $58.
Released March 2017. This vineyard is located at 1,600 feet elevation above Boonville with a southeastern
facing view of Anderson Valley. Owned and farmed by Rich Savoy. Clones 115, 777 and Calera selection.
Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 33% new.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. The nose opens
over time in the glass, revealing opulent aromas of dark red berries and Asian spices. Polished and light on its
feet, with vivid flavors of red cherries and berries framed by engaging tannins and juicy acidity. A good example
of power without muscle that makes Pinot Noir so seductive.
2013 Waits-Mast Deer Meadows Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 120 cases, $58.
Released May 2016. Harvest Brix 24.5º. Clones 115, 777 and Calera selection. Native yeast fermentation.
Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The pedigree of
this vineyard is clearly evident in this wine. Well-appointed aromas of black pie cherries and spice lead to a mid
weight plus style wine with delicious flavors of black cherry, dark raspberry and spice. The wine offers juicy
acidity, modest tannins and welcome generosity on the finish.
2014 Waits-Mast Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 96 cases, $42. Released June 2017. This vineyard is located
at 2,400 feet elevation and is owned by Dan Dooling and Vicki Tomola.
Clones 667 and Pommard on Syrah rootstock (the vineyard was
originally planted in the 1970s to Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel).
Harvest Brix 25.1º. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely and nuanced in the glass, with
aromas of strawberry, red cherry, sandalwood, wine cave, and floral
bouquet. Intense on the attack with mouth coating flavors of dark red
berries and cherries filling the mouth with goodness. A wine of character
with a good grip on the finish that really holds on.
2013 Waits-Mast Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 91 cases, $42. Released
November 2015. Harvest Brix 26º. Clones 667 and Pommard. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 16 months in
French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very little fruit aromas on the nose that
features scents of peppery spice, rose petal, potpourri, sweet pipe smoke and toasty oak. Very juicy,
middleweight cherry core with accents of spice, and BBQ smoke. Polished in the mouth with integrated tannins
and a modest finish.
2014 Waits-Mast Nash Mill Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 67 cases, $40.
Released November 2016. Vineyard owned by Zac and Krista Robinson, whose family also owns
Husch Vineyards. Harvest Brix 26.5º. A mix of 115 and 667 and Pommard clones harvested from this
fog-bound, deep end site. Fermented whole berry with native yeasts and aged 16 months in French
oak barrels, 33% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of cherry, cranberry, wilted
rose and pipe smoke. Flat-out great on the palate with a delicious core of black cherry fruit. Elegantly
composed and satiny in texture, with modest tannins and a sleek, polished demeanor. The oak lends
a helping but not intrusive hand. This wine simply stands out immediately upon tasting and continues its
peacock tail finish when tasted over a two day period.