We farm about 35,000 Gewürztraminer vines and it feels like we should name each plant. Every vine is carefully pruned, nurtured and harvested by hand and in 2007, we ended up with 13 different lots of wine segregated by field, clone and rootstock. Gewürztraminer is notoriously shy-bearing but this year we harvested a surprisingly normal 3.5 tons per acre. That's about 6.5 pounds per individual vine. Estate grapes were harvested early in the chill of morning and quickly destemmed to avoid harsh phenolics. The juice was cool fermented in seasoned oak casks and left on the lees for seven months to enhance mouthfeel. We then selected from among the various lots for Navarro's flagship wine, this Estate Bottled, Dry cuvée. During the ripening phase, the weather had been brisk with days of rain between pickings.
Each vineyard site was fermented in seasoned oak ovals. "Editors' Choice. This is the best dry Gewürz I've ever had from Navarro. It really is bone dry and very high in acidity, two good things, but without richness, the wine would be thin. However, there's an incredible array of peach, lychee, citrus, honeysuckle and vanilla spice flavors. This is the closest to Alsace that California Gewürz gets."
-Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast Magazine
North Hill Gewürztraminer. Two sorters inspect the fruit at the bin and discard any leaves or funky clusters that the pickers may have accidentally harvested. Buckets literally fly when it is finally time to pick.
A late, cold harvest accentuates the variation in quality between vineyard sites and certain vines really produce nicer grapes than others. We selected out the lots of exceptional wines and only the best 50% of the wine we grew, fermented and aged was blended into this special bottling. You might think that with all this personal attention the price tag would soar. Nope. Sunset Magazine gave last year's dry Gewürz their "Value White" wine award and our sensible price hasn't changed. It's deliciously crisp with citrus, tropical fruit and spice flavors enhanced with a little yeastiness. Gold Medal winner.
The gnarly Gewürztraminer trunk was trained over 30 years ago but the cane bearing fruit is replaced annually. During winter the old cane is cut off close to the trunk and a new shoot is selected to curve over the top wire forming an arc, the traditional training system used in Alsace.