Navarro's Riesling style has evolved over the last thirty years thanks to the increasing availability of better clones in California. When we started growing Riesling in the 70's there wasn't much choice of what to plant. Historically many California clones of this variety had been selected for high yields rather than high wine quality. We planted our first clonal trials of Riesling in 1990 when the nurseries started to have a wider choice available and now Navarro's fields are planted to some of the world's most flavorful clones. 84% of this wine was produced from Navarro's expanded plantings; there's bright apple and stone-fruit flavors that are reminiscent of ripe German Rieslings from the Rheinpfalz. Because we are now starting with more flavorful grapes, we've found ourselves crafting drier versions of Riesling but a drier finish requires careful winemaking in order to avoid extracting astringency from the skins, seeds or stems. After destemming, the free-run juice was cool fermented in oak ovals where it rested on the lees for six months, contributing to a rich mouth feel and hints of charcuterie.
Harvesting Campsite Riesling which is planted to three top clones. It takes a California farmer awhile to get the variety and clones of grapes he wants. It's illegal to just bring home vines from a holiday in Germany since the vines must be certified by the State as disease free, a process that often takes years.
There is a tad of residual sugar but it's just enough to balance Riesling's naturally high acidity; the wine finishes deliciously tart and dry with no perceptible sweetness. The captivating floral bouquet has just a touch of Germanic petrol and the lush flavors hint at apple, tangerine and apricot. Try it with thinly sliced Westphalia ham on pumpernickel. Prost! Gold Medal winner.
In a newly planted vineyard we open the grow tube, select the strongest shoot for the new trunk and remove the weaker foliage. Navarro's latest planting won't come into production until 2009. It is a further fine-tuning of clones that seem well matched to Philo's climate and soils. The quest for the best clones of Riesling continues but we don't think you'll be disappointed with the 2005.