When we launched into the wine business in the early seventies, Professor Amerine at the Enology Department at the University of California Davis was extolling the virtues of varietal wines. Promoting Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon was deemed classier than touting the virtues of Hearty Red. The Federal government, which regulates wine labeling, soon got into the act and they required that a wine contain at least 75% of a particular approved variety before it could be labeled with the more exclusive name. The expansion of varietal labeling has done a lot to educate American wine consumers but it tends to blur the reality that many of the best wines in Europe are actually blends of varieties and bear the name of a geographical location rather than a variety. The red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone, can include any of 13 varieties.
We build screen berets for our open top tanks. They allow the CO2 and alcohol to blow off which can lower the wines potential alcohol by almost 1%.
Red wines get their color from fermenting the juice with whole grapes. To avoid breaking seeds and introducing harsh tannins we ferment in open top fermentors and manually punch-down the skins several times a day. Scrubbing fermentors is a big part of the job. Dorit is a winemaker in Israel and in 2008 did a hands-on internship at Navarro.
Navarrouge is our geographical melting pot of nine delicious red varieties from the Mendocino appellation: Valdiguié, Syrah, Zinfandel, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Cinsaut. It's a bit of Mendocino history in a glass. We think the whole is better than the sum of the parts with rich, fruity esters and complex nuances of blackberry, cherry and vanilla. Best of all the price tag will remind you of earlier, simpler times. Silver Medal winner.
Grapes ferment at night too so before we go home to rest we punch-down one last time.