An article by Steve Pitcher in The Wine News magazine classified California Sauvignon Blanc wines into four styles: grassy, fruity, spicy, and an oak-influenced style. When Sauvignon ripens, the flavors that first emerge are sauvage (wild) suggesting fresh herbs and passion fruit. If the fruit is allowed to ripen further, the sauvage character diminishes and is replaced by less aromatic, fruitier flavors suggesting citrus, apple and eventually melon. When grapes are grown in a cool climate, like Anderson Valley, the grapes ripen very slowly giving the winemaker latitude over the style of wine desired. Harvesting early at 22° or 23° Brix produces a wine that is grassy and herbal. Harvesting the grapes ultra-ripe produces a less aromatic wine with much more overt fruit flavors. Fermenting at low temperatures, typically in stainless steel, retains most of the grapes fruity and grassy esters, whereas a warmer fermentation in oak barrels tends to add spice and vanilla.
Navarro's Sauvignon Blanc comes from two vineyards located on Hwy 128. One vineyard is located in Boonville where the grape's grassy aromatics dominate. The second vineyard is located in a warmer Yorkville site and the grapes exhibit more overt citrus-like flavors. Sarah is supervising our newest planting in Boonville which will include three clones of Sauvignon Blanc.
The word 'sauvignon' comes from the French term 'sauvage', literally meaning 'savage'. This refers to the vigorous growth of the vine itself and sometimes to the style of winemaking. These are hose clamps hanging in the winery, not handcuffs to restrain the winemaker.
Navarro's Sauvignon would certainly be classified in the "grassy" style but it has a bit of all four styles. We cool ferment the juice in stainless steel to retain aromatics but when fermentation is complete, we rack the wine to neutral oak casks for three months to add richness to the palate and hints of vanilla and spice. This bottling is deliciously crisp tasting of lemon thyme, lime and fig, the signature of cold-climate fruit. Gold Medal winner.
Ed Wallo's grapes and daughter have matured since we started buying his Yorkville Sauvignon Blanc grapes some thirteen years ago. Recent DNA research proves that Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, the result of a spontaneous field crossing in 18th century Bordeaux.