Navarro's Gewürztraminer vines bore an average number of clusters in 2008 but the clusters and berries were exceptionally small. The vines produced a modest 3.1 tons per acre. Good thing. At veraison in August the weather had cooled. Chilly weather enhances Gewürztraminer's heady aromatics but slows ripening. Because they were tiny, the clusters ripened in any case and we harvested several days earlier than normal. The season came to an abrupt end in mid-October with three days of hard frost but by then the grapes had been de-stemmed, pressed and the juice was safely settling. The clear free-run juice from each vineyard site was fermented in separate oak ovals and aged sur lie for seven months. We bottled only 50% of our 2008 Gewürztraminer as Estate Bottled so we selected only the primo lots from our best fields: Pond, Apple, Peach, East Hill and West Hill. This bottling is especially aromatic and spicy, but our friends have come to expect a lot since Navarro's Estate Bottled Gewürztraminers have won Gold Medals for over 30 years. In the last ten years alone our flagship wine has earned 136 medals in professional tastings.
We installed stainless steel cooling panels inside handsomely carved French oak ovals to facilitate fermenting at a cool 55° F, retaining Gewürztraminer's gorgeous aromas.
Floral aromas leap out of the glass in the 2008 bottling and the flavors suggest peach, quince and lychee. There are hints of vanilla from the oak casks and yeasty notes from aging on the yeast. It is dry, refreshingly tart and balanced to complement sausages, curry or Pad Thai. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.
When the days are hot we harvest under stadium lights in the chill of the early morning. The winery crew arrives at 7 AM and they are greeted by bins of cold grapes. The fruit is promptly de-stemmed and the juice macerates with the skins for several hours. Cold juice selectively extracts floral aromatics whereas warm juice additionally extracts astringent skin phenolics.