We are blessed with heritage vineyards in Mendocino. We've made Chenin Blanc from Michele Young's dry-farmed vineyard for thirteen years. The vines are over 50 years old, planted in rocky soils on a pretty bench above the Russian River near Talmage. We selected these vines due to the high quality Zinfandel grapes that we've been purchasing from her adjacent field. Navarro's Chenin is so lip-smacking good, faithful Navarro customers phone weeks ahead of release to order. As vines age they produce less and in 2009 the vines bore a particularly light crop. Jim looked around and found another old Chenin vineyard that looked promising so we contracted for enough fruit to more than fill our 2009 needs. The two lots were fermented and aged separately in seasoned French oak barrels. The first day of our blending trials, each taster was presented with 5 glasses.
We've purchased Michele's grapes from the same blocks every year for the past thirteen. Old vines have a distinct personality and her Chenin vines' fruit makes a deliciously unique wine.
Navarro's staff assembles most weekday mornings at 9:30 AM for a wine tasting when our palates are fresh. The blending trials for this Chenin were held on four consecutive mornings. Once the decision was made, the wine was racked from barrels and bottled young and sassy.
One was 100% Young Vineyard and the other four had from 10% to 40% addition of the second lot of Chenin. The vote was unanimous. Every taster was blown away by how much better Michele's Chenin was than the wine produced in a field a mile away. The second lot of Chenin was left out but in later tastings we did add 9% Sauvignon Blanc which enhances Chenin's tropical flavors and 5% Chardonnay which adds a little apple-pear to the peachy mid-palate. We don't have as much to sell this vintage so please order promptly.
Sadly, Michele's husband John passed away last year. We will miss his humor and work ethic and will think of him with each sip of this wine.