This is our fourth rosé produced from Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes. We've sourced Pinot Noir grapes from several other vineyards but the Chalone clonal selection in Navarro's Hammer Olsen block has consistently produced our best Pinot Noir rosé; typically we haven't even bothered to blend in any other lots. The 2011 harvest was late and the weather unseasonably wet. It was likely that we would lose most of the Grenache grapes and could only bottle a small quantity of Mendocino Rosé, the wine we released in March. Navarro's Pinot Noir harvest was also looking iffy but the grapes were at a perfect ripeness for a refreshing rosé. We decided to make more Rosé of Pinot Noir than usual and picked the entire Chalone block in the Hammer Olsen vineyard for this bottling. The yield was insufficient and it became obvious that an additional block would have to be added to produce enough alluring pink wine to quench the thirst of Navarro's friends.
The Marking Corral was planted in 1998 to six different clones of Pinot Noir on the same rootstock: clones 4, 113, 114, 115, 667 & 777. The clone 114 block is the newest addition to Navarro's homegrown rosé
Herding ewes with newly born lambs from field to field requires patience. Sometimes it's faster to carry the lamb as the ewe quickly follows. Lambs and mothers are marked at birth so that we know who belongs to whom. We use Babydoll sheep to weed our vineyards throughout the year. Originally a coastal English breed, these miniature sheep are quite thrifty and don't require grain or supplemental feed; the cover crops in Navarro's vineyards provide ample feed that is herbicide and insecticide free.
Of the 32 blocks we harvest for wine, we decided to try clone 114 from the Marking Corral vineyard. A French ampelography describes clone 114 as producing aromatic wines and our experience in Philo is that the clone produces wines with a delightful bouquet of rose petal. The two lots were fermented and aged separately, then blended in April 2012. It promises to be a generous salmon season this year on the North Coast and the strawberry-plum flavors, not to mention the hue, make this dry rosé a perfect match.