We like Navarro's wines to reflect a particular time and place and no two vintages should taste just the same. The temperatures for the week preceding our 2009 Pinot Noir harvest were hot during the day, reaching into the mid 90's which gave a last minute boost to the sugar. Fortunately, the nights were chilly with a 50°F diurnal temperature swing; evening temperatures dropped into the low 40's and in the final days we even experienced 30°F frosts. These frigid nights prevented the grapes from losing acidity. The combination of high sugar and high acidity resulted in a powerful wine that has plenty of muscle and not a smidge of flab. The grapes were harvested at night and destemmed into small bins. Like artisan raw cheese that age in a particular cave or village, the microbes and yeasts growing in a vineyard give the wine an unmistakable sense of place. With carefully chosen fruit there is no reason to add sulfur dioxide at the crush pad to eliminate wild yeasts. In fact, at Navarro we encourage them. For three decades we've fertilized our vines with compost generated by our winery waste, so our vineyards are densely populated with many strains of yeast that add complexity to the final cuvée.
One of Navarro's three weather stations that sends data to our computers in real time.
Night harvesting Pinot Noir, 2009. Immediately before picking, we strip leaves to enable careful removal of any inferior clusters to insure that everything we harvest is in good shape.
Although we may add strains of predictable yeasts later in the process to assure the fermentation finishes, it always begins with Navarro's unique mixture of wild yeast. "Black plum and rhubarb, and an intense bright mineral core.... warm cinnamon tones and bright citrus-peel accents provide added depth." -S.F. Chronicle. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.
Navarro's Pinot Vineyards are at the western edge of the valley. As you can see from the weather chart, the climate is rugged with large variations in highs and lows. On September 29 a cold front arrived; nighttime temperatures dropped to the 30's and we found ourselves frost protecting one field, while harvesting another.