Wine of the Week: Naidu, 2020 Sonoma Coast of Rosé of Pinot Noir
One silver lining of the pandemic is it forced the wine industry to make room for outliers, according to vintner Raghni Naidu, an immigrant woman from Punjab, India.
“Being an outsider in a traditional industry, I did see the playing field level up a little,” said the vintner of Sebastopol’s Naidu Wines. “Everyone, no matter their experience and tenure in the industry, was suddenly having to scramble to meet the same challenging situation. Everyone had to come out of their comfort zones.”
Naidu is behind The Press Democrat’s wine of the week winner – the Naidu, 2020 Sonoma Coast of Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.9%, $30. It’s a striking rosé, nice and dry, with layered notes of raspberry, mineral and a hint of pomegranate. It has racy acidity and it finishes crisp. It’s spot on, perfect for a sun-kissed day.
Other tasty rosés include: Argyle, 2020 Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 12.5%, $30; Inman Family’s Endless Crush, 2020 OGV Estate, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir, 12%, $38; Pellegrini, 2020 Olivet Lane Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, Rosé of Pinot Noir, 12.8%, $40; and Castello di Amorosa, 2020 Cresta D’Oro Vineyard Rosato, 13.6%, $35.
The Naidu rosé’s tangy fruit coupled with its racy acidity edged out the other tasty contenders in the line-up.
The owner and founder of Naidu Wines is well known for her resilience; she kept her 2020 launch on schedule despite the pandemic.
“Adapting to the challenges of the pandemic has certainly given me greater confidence in trusting my business instincts and following my own path as I have seen success doing this,” Naidu said. “Always being ready to pivot and turn and putting my best foot forward under all circumstances has resulted in the situation turning out even more beautifully than I initially imagined.”
Naidu, 39, completed her bachelor of business administration in marketing from RMIT, Melbourne, Australia in 2004. She met and married her husband, Kaushick Naidu, in Australia and they moved to America in 2006.
In 2018 Naidu couldn’t resist buying a 9-acre property in Sebastopol that had a 4-acre vineyard and a guesthouse.
And so it began, Naidu and her namesake brand, with her business plan, plenty of stamina and a vision. The vintner hired Matt Duffy to be her winemaker, and he makes the wine at Vinify, a Santa Rosa custom crush facility. Today Naidu Wines produces pinot noir, rosé, viognier and a zinfandel, and the label can be found on the wine list of one of Sonoma County’s most highly esteemed restaurant, Single Thread Farms.
“The epiphany for me was that as long as I could pivot and adapt to changes and think and execute creatively, people were taking notice and they appreciated the high-quality product I was bringing to them,” she said. “My focus will always remain on being a small batch producer even as my brand grows. Quality is the driving force here.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at email@example.com or 707-521-5310.