It's hard to remember exactly why we decided to produce a sparkling wine but we suspect it was because Roederer and Scharffenberger became our good neighbors in the Anderson Valley. We crafted the first Navarro sparkler in 1985, which opened our eyes to the complexities of sparkling wine production. The two 2006 estate-grown wines in this cuvée, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, were produced solely from the coeur de cuvée (the heart of the first pressing) which is the highest-quality portion of juice. In 2007 we selected, blended and bottled a cuvée with some added sugar and yeast; a second fermentation in the bottle produced the requisite bubbles and more yeast. One of the key decisions in sparkling wine production is how long to leave the wine sur latte (bottles with yeast lees, lying on their side). We have forty years of know-how making still white wine and experience has taught us that wines are enriched when they remain cozy with the yeasts produced by fermentation.
Bottles of Navarro sparkling wine lying sur latte in wooden bins. This Brut was produced in 2006, bottled in 2007, then riddled and disgorged in 2015 after spending over eight years on the yeast. Older sparkling wines that are recently disgorged (R.D.) typically have more body and a fuller mouth feel compared to wines that are disgorged with less time on the yeast.
Our eldest granddaughter was born the same year that we bottled this sparkling wine. They both have grown more beautiful with time.
Two years after bottling we tasted this cuvée; it was so nice that we decided to leave it on the yeast for another year. We've held these tastings a couple of times since, and each time decided to give the wine more time sur latte. By spring 2015 we couldn't stand the wait; we decided to disgorge about 830 cases. Eight years on the yeast has added nutty-toasty flavors and generous body which is impressive since this is the driest sparkler we've ever produced. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class. 97 points.
Yeasts add the sparkle and sediment in our bubbly prior to riddling and disgorging. Riddling involves gentling tapping and rotating the bottle when the neck is down. Once the yeasts are all up against the crown cap, the neck is frozen, the bottle rotated upright, the crown cap removed and a "plug" of yeasts in frozen wine pops out (disgorging). The bottle is topped up, corked and labelled.