The April 2003 Wine and Spirits Magazine rated 528 Chardonnays. Wines scoring 93 to 95 earned the title "The Year’s 10 Best Chardonnays." The average bottle price was $32.00. Navarro’s 2001 Première Reserve, at $18, was the least expensive wine in the winners’ circle. "Navarro has a trick of growing wines in the Anderson Valley that mirror the whites of Alsace. It’s a character most apparent in their pinot gris, but it turns up in their other whites as well, like this chardonnay for which my notes read: "Smells Alsace." Is it the autumnal feel of the wine, with scents of pale mushroom flesh and roasted apple? Is it the relatively light weight (for California), yet fulsome flavor? The wine is sturdy, broad and rich, with oak playing a background role to structure it, letting the earth and lemon zest flavors take precedence in the finish." -Joshua Greene and Patrick Comiskey. We try not to let nice reviews go to our heads but we can’t help beaming when a writer understands our winemaking goals. Good wine, at any price, should remind you of where and how the grapes were grown. Healthy vineyards are alive with beneficial critters and are best able to express a unique sense of place.
Harvesting Navarro’s Tasting Room Chardonnay. These fields are free of insecticides and herbicides, but we do use tons of compost.
Eleno and Salvador take a mental health break during lunch. Navarro provides company-wide health insurance since it’s obvious that healthy employees are not only happier but are able to perform their work better. Vines are similar; healthy ones have an easier time ripening fruit. We think that the biggest factor in vine health is soil health.
This vintage marks the 27th year Navarro has been growing Chardonnay in the Anderson Valley and by now we’ve learned to let the terroir show through. Composting and healthy soil is good for Chardonnay and the neighborhood. Gold Medal winner.
Navarro spreads mountains of compost each year, much of it made right on the ranch. In composted soils, the bacterial and fungal count reach their peak; in chemically managed vineyards, there are fewer soil organisms. Some of these organisms protect the vine from root necrosis, which helps explain why composted (organic) vineyards succumb much more slowly to phylloxera than chemically managed vineyards.