This vintage we are changing the appellation on Navarro's bargain priced Pinot Noir from Mendocino to Anderson Valley and we hope this is a permanent change. We now have over 40 acres of Pinot in production and another 10 acres under contract at neighboring Valley Foothills Vineyard; these 50 acres should provide all the fruit for the various Pinot Noir wines we produce. Anderson Valley is now considered one of California's three best appellations for Pinot and we are pretty careful growers. We maintain our vines with a generous leaf to fruit ratio so that our crop gets fully ripe. We've learned to farm without relying on chemicals to eradicate insects and weeds; we maintain cover crops all year in the vineyard to provide feed for sheep and beneficial insects and erosion control in winter. It even seems to us that our wine has a hint of mint from the wild pennyroyal growing beneath the vines. The grapes for this bottling were harvested and vinified to emphasize the grape flavors rather than heavy oak.
View of Anderson Valley from Navarro's Marking Corral Pinot Noir vineyard in April after the vines' buds have shown the first green leaves. A cover crop is maintained under the vine rows during winter to protect the topsoil but it would compete with the vines in summer. We remove the cover crop in early spring using sheep, hand-hoeing, weed-eating and in-row plowing but we avoid using herbicides even though it would be faster and cheaper.
Capo and Jefe are brothers that live full time with Navarro's sheep. Each of these huge Maremma-Pyrenees-Akbash dogs weighs about 140 pounds, so a pair is enough to discourage any predator.
We admit that it was aged in seasoned, rather than new, French oak barrels and we bottled it in a less expensive bottle and a shorter cork than our more pricey bottlings, but we didn't skimp on the grapes or our attention to detail! Spiced pomegranate, plum and cherry flavors make this wine intriguing regardless of the name. Gold Medal winner.
Our newest planting of Pinot Noir consists of clones 115 and 667 trained on a tall trellis. When the vines are mature we will use miniature sheep for weed control, but until then, weeds are removed the old fashioned way by hand hoeing. The hard work has paid off; the last 15 releases of Navarro's Pinot have been Gold Medal winners. "... you will not find pinot noir of this quality at this price anywhere else."