In 2005 Navarro's Muscat field ripened in the cool October sun. By the time the fruit was golden many of the clusters were infected with the noble rot, a rare occurrence with Muscat. Although it seems topsy-turvy, we picked the grapes for the dry version of this intensely aromatic white wine after the sweet. On October 5th we began hand selecting the Muscat clusters affected with botrytis which we used for the luscious sweet Cluster Select Late Harvest wine that is being released simultaneously.
We cool ferment Muscat in seasoned French and German oak casks. Wines fermented in large oak casks are rounder and more complex because of lees contact and natural oxygen diffusion through the wood. Many Navarro casks are decades old and so is this cradle which Ted made for Aaron in 1978 and will be refilled with Aaron & Kathleen's baby this May.
Warren (right) is Navarro's vineyard foreman and Jeff (left) joined the Navarro team last summer; Jeff was a U.C. Davis classmate of Sarah and has a masters degree in Viticulture. In Anderson Valley's chilly climate Muscat ripens late with high acidity, a plus when producing crisp white wines. Regrettably the cold Philo weather sometimes limits fruitfulness. Navarro's Muscat yield fluctuates wildly from year to year.
On October 8th we finished picking the remaining rotted fruit and then harvested un-rotted, ripe fruit for this dry edition. The free run juice was fermented and aged on its lees in temperature controlled oak ovals until late spring when the wine was bottled while fresh and crisp. This wine pairs beautifully with fusion cuisine; the orange blossom aromas contrast with dry crisp flavors of citrus and tropical fruit. Gold Medal winner. Best of Show.