In the spring of 1984, a winemaker from an old Burgundian family visited our cellar and tasted the 1983 Pinot Noir wines from the barrel. His skill was apparent after he consistently identified the vinification techniques we had used to make each wine. We listened closely when he said he would have chosen to age our estate Pinot in different barrels. For his palate we were adding a layer of toasty, charred oak over the fruit flavors. His idea was to select oak barrels whose flavors had a similar taste profile as the fruit; the oak then would harmoniously fuse with the fruit. Why spend all the time and effort growing perfect Pinot Noir in Philo and then overpower the fruit with smoky oak from France? We purchased the recommended barrels for the 1984 vintage and loved the results. More than seventy percent of this wine was aged almost a year in new and one year old barrels and the remainder in two year old barrels. It's hard to deny the expensive oak flavors in this wine but they happen to complement the vineyard flavors and aren't as obvious as if we had chosen toastier barrels and smothered the fruit with smoky oak perfume.
When Monsieur Bouchard first advised us about cooperage, most of these talented young winemakers on Navarro's 2007 crush crew were still in preschool. All of them have a winemaker parent suggesting that grapes don't fall far from the vine.
New barrels destined for 2007 Pinot Noir. Dan Berger in AppellationAmerica.com described our 2004 Méthode à l'Ancienne Pinot:
"The mid-palate is succulent and medium-full and there are no oak overtones to detract from the fruit." Dan was one of the first to review Navarro wines and understands our goal of using oak to complement vineyard flavors rather than cover them.
It was a cool vintage and the 2005 Pinot Noir harvest started on the same day it ended in 2004. The flavors suggest cherry, strawberry and blueberry with hints of spices and bacon that complete the signature of Navarro's Méthode à l'Ancienne's succulent core. Gold Medal winner. Best of Show.
A shattered Pinot Noir cluster in Navarro's Marking Corral vineyard, September 2005. Pinot Noir is particularly vulnerable to shatter and 2005 was an unforgiving vintage. Some of the grapes fall off after bloom which is one of nature's ways of reducing the crop.