At the Wine Mine in Oakland Saturday, Jim and Emjay Scott from Porter Valley, Mendocino-based Naughty Boy Vineyards were pouring some of their wines, including two Chardonnays, two Pinot Noirs and a Dolcetto. I was really digging the Pinot Noirs - a 2006 and a 2005. The more recent vintage was actually drinking easier than the prior year. The 2006 was almost brick-like in color, with a moderate nose of bright fresh strawberries and grape candy. These were present as flavors in the mouth, and the wine really gave me a pepper zing on the tongue at the finish. It was very approachable.
The 2005 seemed more complex and Old World in style, with earthy notes not present in the 2006 dominating the nose, and more pepper and spice in the mouth. The fresh strawberry component in the 2006 was muted in the 2005, or more like the pepper was kicked up a notch.
According to technical notes on Naught Boy's website, the 2005 Pinot spent 18 months in French oak, with 28% being new barrels (the newer the oak, the more likely you're going to find oak and vanilla flavors in the wine). In fact, I don't think I tasted any oak at all in these wines, showing a nice handling of the barreling, compared to many American Pinot Noir producers who overdo that aspect of aging, leading to woody, heavy wines that aren't that interesting or even resemble Pinot Noir.
These small production wines (less than 1,000 cases produced) are made from organic grapes. I didn't get prices for all of them, but I think I saw the 2005 going for $14 a bottle.