We aren't surprised when the generosity or paucity of our Gewürztraminer harvest is mirrored in Pinot Gris. Both grapes are cool climate varieties and they grow alongside each other throughout the world. After four dispiriting years of decreasing yields we finally had a bumper Pinot Gris harvest in 2006. Lots of grapes translated into lots of wine so only the best of our best lots were considered for Navarro's Pinot Gris blend. The most exciting field is the Middle Ridge vineyard where the Pinot Gris is grown between 1100 feet and 1250 feet above sea level on a slope facing southwest. The slope, row direction and terraces were designed to maximize the efficiency of the grape canopy for solar collection. The ocean is visible at this elevation and maritime breezes cool the vines every summer day. Even with effective use of the sun this is often our last field to ripen. The berries from this mountain vineyard usually are smaller, have less sugar and a little more acidity than valley floor fruit resulting in wines that have a taut skin that stretches over the flavors that resonate below.
We use the same training system for growing Pinot Gris as we do for Gewürztraminer; it's the traditional training system used in Alsace. By arcing, we encourage growth in the middle of the cane otherwise this variety tends to be more vigorous near the trunk and at the tip of the cane with weak growth in the middle.
Middle Ridge vineyard at sunset. “Navarro, one of California's most perfect wineries, has a track record of nicely aging wines, including a number of the whites, and the 1995 Pinot Gris, which few people chose to age, has recently shown itself to be a fine example of why this is a grape that has a lot more potential than simply as an early sipping wine.” -Dan Berger, Appellation America, March 23, 2007.
The two clones in this field were harvested, cool-fermented then aged as separate lots in French oak ovals and represent 83% of this bottling. Two valley floor vineyards constitute the remainder of the blend and add a rich texture to the whole. The flavors are autumnal with the opulence of ripe pears and walnuts. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.
Our gates are solar powered which saves a lot of jumping out of the pickup. Congressman Mike Thompson presented Navarro with an award from Fish Friendly Farming this summer. As part of Navarro's conservation plan we fence each vineyard site separately leaving wildlife corridors on most of the ranch.