This 2010 vintage marks a change, or a transition, in Navarro's Cabernet Sauvignon production. From 1978 through 2003, Navarro's Cabernet was produced almost entirely from grapes grown near Ukiah in a vineyard called "Red Hill." With Red Hill's production declining each year, we set out, over a decade ago, to find a mature Mendocino Cabernet vineyard producing top quality fruit. This is easier said than done since Navarro's minimum requirements are a good site (preferably hillside with well-drained soils), well-tended, mature, healthy vines and a grower willing to forgo quantity for quality. Berry Vineyards was one of many we sourced fruit from beginning in 2004. In every vintage since, the old head-trained vines in Berry's Rattlesnake Canyon produced fruit that became an important component in Navarro's Cabernet program. This vintage, Navarro's Cabernet was produced entirely from Rattlesnake Canyon.
Chris Spazek racking Cabernet into barrels. Cabernet Sauvignon was a spontaneous vineyard cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and the wine can smell like either of its parents.
Rattlesnake Canyon is steep and it's quite a climb from bottom to top. Heritage head-trained vines, thin hillside soil and a warm site result in fully ripe Cabernet from Berry's vineyard.
The combination of thin hillside soils and a warm exposure results in a riper flavor profile than the Cabernet wines we produced a decade ago. After an extended fermentation, the wine was racked to French oak barrels to age for twenty-two months. Aromas of green olives, black licorice, tobacco and pine forest beg for a grilled steak or herb-stuffed Portobello mushroom. In 2011, conditions were miserable for ripening Mendocino Cabernet so we had to forego production; stock up on this ripe 2010 beauty since the next release is two years away! Gold Medal winner.