Perhaps it's silly to specialize in a grape variety that a good percentage of the public has trouble pronouncing. Every vintage, we ferment various Gewürztraminer vineyard sites in separate ovals so that we have a wide range of flavors and aromas from which to assemble Navarro's Estate Bottled cuvée. The excess production typically has been sold in bulk. In 2011, we used less than half the wine for our more expensive bottling, leaving gobs of good Gewürztraminer. We figured our fans would enjoy an everyday version of Navarro's spicy, benchmark varietal. The Cuvée Traditional bottling is a blend of two pretty lots produced from the Peach and Ridge blocks. A tad sweeter and less complex than its more expensive cousin, it beats most wines in this price range. Throw a sausage and potato in the oven and open a bottle for an easy work-night supper.
Before we crawl inside to clean an oval in which we've fermented and aged Gewürztraminer, we make sure to vacuum out the carbon dioxide first. One of the reasons this dry wine tastes so round is because the wine was fermented, then aged in these large oak casks. French vignerons have recognized for decades that allowing wine to rest on the yeast enriches the wine; we've tested this theory extensively and have concluded that the extra time and expense to produce wine in this traditional winemaking manner is well spent. Extended lees contact in an inert stainless steel tank, unfortunately, creates off flavors and aromas, so the historical use of wood casks makes sense.