Navarro's staff painstakingly blends wines to make sure that each bottling is well balanced with just the right amount of fruit, oak, acid and alcohol. All that work is futile unless we start with a well balanced crop on the vines. There are a myriad of variables that contribute to assessing a vineyard's proper crop level: soil, rootstock, spacing, trellis system, vine vigor and the growing season. Some years, like 2004, inauspicious weather during bloom took a load off our Chardonnay vines without us having a smidgen of a say-so. But most years grapevines need to be thinned with a judicious but heavy hand. This is tough and farmers gulp when they see hard-earned cash thrown on the dirt. Experience has taught us to be ruthless since our best and most complex wines, like this Première Reserve Chardonnay, can only come from vines with a balanced crop. Pruning to an appropriate number of buds first takes place in the winter but further assessments occur after grape set and again during veraison, the point in the summer when the grapes start to color.
It is most effective to thin early in the growing season but that is when the vines are most vulnerable. Frost, rain and even heat can severely reduce the crop during bloom.
Simon the dachshund has the best seat in the house at Navarro's morning tastings. Good wine starts way before blending with a balanced crop on the vines.
Over 90% of this blend came from Navarro's two original fields and 8% came from a new planting of the Robert Young clone. It was fermented and aged in Vosges oak and spent nine months on the yeast. So... take a load off, put your feet up and enjoy a bottle of our best Chardonnay. "Exceptional. Subtlety and nuance are mastered here, with apple/pear fruit, just the barest hint of oak, and perfect acid structure for pairing with food." -Dan Berger. Gold Medal winner.
Justin is stirring the lees in each potential barrel of
Première Reserve Chardonnay as it rests in the cellar.
Bâttonage helps winemakers build mouthfeel and softens the tannins imparted by the oak barrel.