In a certain sense, sparkling wine is bottled twice. The Pinot Noir grapes for this bottling were harvested in September 2009. Whole clusters were pressed to eliminate any chance of extracting unwanted skin phenolics, the juice was cool-fermented to retain all of the grape's delicate flavors, then bottled with sugar and live yeast in June 2010 and sealed with a crown cap. Although it's technically in a bottle, according to the Feds (who collect tax on alcohol), it isn't considered "bottled" since the yeast and sugar, which we added, will re-ferment, producing more yeast, lots of bubbles and a little more taxable alcohol. We don't produce sparkling wine every year, consequently we continue to explore the effect of the duration of time that champagne is held sur latte, the method of storing the sparkler on its side during the second fermentation and aging in the bottle. Extended aging on the yeast produced by in-bottle fermentation results in the slow breakdown of yeast cells; in sparkling winemaking, autolysis is a fundamental process that imparts complexity and textural finesse that can be achieved in no other way.
Since Navarro's production and release of sparkling wine is sporadic, it is always snapped up during the holidays, so please don't procrastinate placing your order.
Night hand-harvesting Pinot Noir for sparkling wine. Any flaw in sparkling wine is exposed and magnified by the bubbles, so it is essential that no skin phenolics (harshness) end up in the base wine; cold juice extracts much less phenolics than warm juice.
After more than three years resting sur latte, each bottle was riddled by being tipped neck down, rotated, disgorged and topped off with the liqueur d'expédition in July 2013. The moment we install the final cork, the wine is considered legally "bottled", in spite of the fact that bottles of the wine have been resting in our cellar for over three years. We have a crowd arriving for Thanksgiving and plan on handing guests a glass of this bright, toasty bubbly while we nibble Pennyroyal cheeses and wait for the turkey.