Almost daily someone asks us, "What is your favorite wine?" It is a tough question. One winemaker we know replies, "It depends on how the wine has performed that day." Well, this wine has consistently performed well, with a long history of gold medals. Navarro has planted a variety of clones and rootstocks of Pinot Noir at a number of different sites; we planted in blocks so that we could harvest the fruit separately. In 2009 we had 32 lots from which to select our blend. Each lot was fermented in small bins, then aged in French oak barrels and kept separate throughout the winemaking. After many years it has become apparent that some site-rootstock-clone combinations are always in our best Pinot and others not.
The gentlest way to punch-down is to do it by hand. It may be time consuming but we think the resulting gentle tannins are important with this delicate varietal.
Harvesting Pinot Noir. Immediately before harvest, Navarro's crew removes the leaves around every cluster. That makes it easy to see and remove defective clusters, as well as speeding up picking.
In the Garden Spot, for example, clone 115 on 3309c rootstock is routinely in the Deep End Blend, but the grapes from the same site and clone on 1103p rootstock rarely make the grade for this cuvée. Discovering favorite combinations varies by vintage, reinforcing our conviction that the season and the rootstock, as well as clonal choice, matter. This bottling is a cuvée from six different blocks, aged, naturally, in our newest and best barrels. This is a Pinot you could dab on like perfume: toast, vanilla and clove mingle with suggestions of black cherry, plum and raspberry. It's a knockout with Peking duck or cassoulet. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.