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2012 Riesling
  Late Harvest
  Anderson Valley, Mendocino
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Ugly duckling turned into a swan Recent Press

Every time we think about producing a late harvest wine, it brings a smile to our face, in part, because of how glorious these luscious nectars taste. We are not chuckling because of easy winemaking or profits; late harvest wines don't provide either. Our laughter is because the grapes from which we produce this wine were rotten and when we started making wine in the 70's, we didn't appreciate that all rots are not created equally. In fact, we threw botrytised grapes away! It's understandable since rotten grapes are so ugly. But botrytis is the one rot that German winemakers have appreciated for more than a century; infected berries eventually shrivel, which concentrates the grapes sugars, acids and flavors and simultaneously adds layers of honey and apricot.

When we dump botrytis-affected Riesling into the destemmer, clouds of rot-spores fill the air; [right] Navarro's crew wears masks to protect their lungs.

Riesling after October rains have started rot. [above] Riesling berries are light green in color and there still are a few in the photo that aren't rotten yet. The berries turn a brownish color when infected. As the berries begin to shrivel, the mold becomes obvious. The more the berries shrivel, the more concentrated the flavors.

During harvest, we sometimes show rotten Riesling to customers in the tasting room; we remember one horrified customer who exclaimed she wouldn't feed those grapes to a hog; after tasting the Late Harvest Riesling, she was awed at the transformation and purchased twelve bottles. Gold Medal winner.

Specifications
Harvested: Oct. 20 to Nov. 25, 2012 Sugars at harvest: 28.8° Brix
Bottled: May 10, 2013 Cases produced: 580
Alcohol: 12.5% Residual sugars: 7.5%
Titratable acidity: 8.8 g/L pH: 3.22

Navarro Vineyards · 5601 Hwy 128 · Philo, CA · 95466 · Tasting Room Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM Summer (5 PM Winter)
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