Muscat Blanc à petite grains is typically grown in relatively warm viticultural regions. Philo is on the fringe of having adequate summer heat to get this aromatic grape ripe. Navarro's first Muscat vines were planted in 1975 on a simple t-top trellis; the grapes seldom ripened to our satisfaction. Our trellis designs had gotten more sophisticated by 1990 when we planted the field that produced this wine. In order to maximize solar collection we used a multi-wire Lyre system, the same system we prefer for Pinot Noir in our Hammer Olsen field. A large leaf surface area relative to crop weight is an advantage in Navarro's maritime climate. The 2007 growing season put our trellis design to the test.
Eduardo removes suckers on the inside of a Lyre trellis and then forces the selected shoots upright by repositioning a moveable wire. Note the extra wires next to his back. These are used to position the shoots vertically as they grow to form two separate panels of canopy. "Melon and prosciutto and dry Muscat. The perfumy, grapey character of the Muscat complements the melon, while the saltiness of the prosciutto makes a nice counterpoint to the wine's ebullient fruitiness."
Estrella, a bottle-fed orphan lamb replaces a tractor driver. We've been raising a flock of miniature sheep to weed under the Muscat, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in summertime reducing tractor and diesel use. "Served on its own with a little butter, (asparagus) calls for a full-flavoured white. In Alsace, people like to drink dry Muscat, which does go particularly well with white asparagus."
After véraison the nights started cooling off and by October 6th the early morning temperatures were in the mid 30's. By mid-October it was obvious that the grapes were as ripe as they were going to get. We hand picked with moderate sugars and high acidity, then de-stemmed and pressed. The juice temperature after pressing was 41°F which pleased the winemaker; cool juice picks up fewer harsh skin phenolics. Fermented in oak ovals and aged sur lie for 5 months, the wine has hints of yeast and vanilla. Floral and tropical fruit aromas yield to a surprisingly dry finish with dazzling acidity. Try it with Szechuan takeout for supper aromatherapy. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.