Navarro's vineyard is planted to Muscat à petits grains blanc (little berries), a grape variety normally grown in warm climates to make sweet wines. It has been almost abandoned in cold viticultural climates because of low production in years with damp spring weather. Navarro Vineyards' is the only planting in coastal Anderson Valley. Recent French research suggests that Muscat's aromatics reach a peak at 22.5° Brix and decline with further ripening. We previously had harvested Muscat riper than this, but if harvested earlier, we could produce a dry wine with higher acidity and lower alcohol, making it even more food friendly. Being wine geeks, we had to try. Please keep an open mind, this isn't your typical Muscat: bone dry, restrained alcohol, enticingly aromatic, delicate, fruit dominated flavors, refreshingly crisp, mouth-pleasing texture.
After destemming the grapes, we cool-fermented then aged this wine nine months in French oak ovals. The casks are untouched during aging; the expired yeasts settle to the bottom and sides of the ovals. This extended contact with the lees adds roundness to the dry wine, and since the wine is in oak, it clarifies naturally, greatly reducing filtration, thus preserving the strength of the wine.
This spring Ted and Deborah visited Christophe Schneider of the INRA near Colmar in Alsace. Christophe is doing research on resistance to fanleaf virus, a major cause for vine decline in varieties such as Muscat. Ted is practicing French facial gestures.
"Wine of the Week. Dramatic aroma of white peach, spice of juniper/ginger, and classic Muscat in the mid-palate with no residual sugar to mar the overall delicate impression. One of the best concept wines you'll ever drink. Calls for a half case at least!" -VintageExperiences.com. We hope you enjoy the results as much as the wine judges. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.
In June we also visited our friends Thierry and Marina Vaute who grow Muscat to make sweet wine in their alluring vineyard in Beaumes-de-Venise named Domaine de la Pigeade.