Navarro's vines for the Hammer Olsen Pinot Noir blocks, which we planted twenty three years ago, were based upon experimental results from a University of California Davis trial at Carneros Creek Vineyard. One of the top scoring experimental wines was produced from a field selection sourced from Chalone Vineyards in the Gavilan Mountain Range near Soledad. Subsequently two Hammer Olsen blocks were planted to field selections sourced from Chalone; one from their original block and a second from their “new” block, which Chalone had planted, in turn, from a mixture gleaned from their old block. We were careful to take our selections from the largest range of vines possible since the fields were a mixture of several distinct Pinot Noir clones. We weren't surprised when the vines initially produced delicious red wine, but we were surprised when, after a number of years, some of the vines started to express mild grape leafroll. Leafroll turns the leaves bright red in the autumn, which is adored by photographers, but strikes fear in a grape grower. It is a complex viral disease that slows ripening of the crop, reduces color and decreases crop yields. While the grapes may be shy of color and ripeness for a red wine in cool vintages, we had a hunch that we could produce an excellent pink wine from these vines.
A Pinot vineyard in the fall. This vineyard has been suckered and weeded by sheep all summer, leaving no tall weeds to inhibit grape maturation.
Bottling Rosé of Pinot Noir.
We produced our first Pinot Noir rosé from this field in 2009 and it has been a favorite with Navarro fans from the get-go. We're hopeful the 2013 commercial salmon season will open again in early May as this wine is a great way to toast the season. Gold Medal winner.
Navarro's Hammer Olsen Pinot Noir vineyard in the spring. Our most recent plantings have high trunks and this allows sheep to graze under the vines in the growing season. When put into a vineyard with lots of grasses for feed, the first thing Babydoll sheep prefer to eat are tender Pinot Noir shoots. The horizontal cordons (very top of photo) which bear all the fruit, are too high for these miniature sheep to reach, but they do a great job of removing all the trunk suckers which saves us many hours of labor.