My Liquid Assets column today centers around popular brands that have gone missing. Those of us who love the smaller, more allocated wines can empathize.

Even with dozens of wine wholesalers in Minnesota – estimates run as high as 60 – some dandy smaller brands come and go. The reasons vary: Maybe the distributor went out of business, or the winery was sold, or not enough was moving here, or someone’s dog died.

So it was seriously great to see Navarro wines recently reappear on store shelves after several years’ absence. This Mendocino County winery makes some tasty pinot noir, but its main focus is on whites, especially the grapes that do especially well in Alsace.

Turns out they do equally well in Mendocino’s cool (literally and figuratively) Anderson Valley. Exhibit A: the Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer, which Sunset magazine recently named the West Coast’s best white wine under $20 (it’s just a tick above that price here).

Other offerings now lining Twin Cities shelves are the Mendocino Chardonnay ($20) and the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir l’Ancienne ($33).

All are worth checking out, and the Gewurz is a peerless introduction to that underappreciated varietal.

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