Navarro's ripeness standard for the Mendocino cuvée wasn't much different than for the Première Reserve bottling even though the styles of the two Chardonnays differ. In this vintage only half a percentage point of grape sugars at harvest separate the two bottlings. To be honest, the least ripe half of our 2006 Chardonnay production was either bottled as Table Wine or sold off as bulk wine to other wineries. The Mendocino emphasizes flowery fruit and focuses the taster's attention on the grapes. This bottling is 51% from Anderson Valley grapes whose citrusy, tart flavors benefit from both primary and malolactic fermentations in the barrel which add a vanilla and butter element to the wine. 48% is from grapes grown organically at McFadden Farms in Potter Valley. These inland grapes are less acidic than Anderson Valley fruit so this portion was cool fermented in ovals and puncheons to preserve the melon-like fruit that characterizes the McFadden vineyard.
Eleno jumps up on a parked tractor to get a bird's eye view of Navarro's picking crew in action.
Simon takes in the garden fresh aromas of a cover crop of wild calendulas in Navarro's vineyard.
The wine was completed with a dash of whole-cluster pressed juice from Navarro's Tasting Room field, harvested at 21° Brix, which adds a lyrical citrus blossom top-note. Prior to blending, the selected lots had all aged sur lie for eight months rounding out this lively wine. This is a great wine for a summer supper of grilled chicken and veggies fresh from the garden. Gold Medal winner.
This Chardonnay is as lively and fun as Navarro's tasting room.