When we first started producing Sauvignon Blanc wines in 1990, we faced a labeling dilemma. On a Navarro label, the appellation Mendocino typically indicates that the grapes were grown in the warm Russian River watershed. There is plenty of Sauvignon Blanc grown in Mendocino's toasty inland valleys but the vineyards we sought are located in two of the county's coolest wine appellations. Both sites are located on Highway 128 and since this wine has always been a blend of two AVA's (American Viticultural Areas), we chose Cuvée 128 as the moniker.
A major component of Navarro's Sauvignon Blanc is grown by the Charles family in Boonville. We've known Bill and Nancy Charles for almost forty years, and have purchased their excellent Sauvignon Blanc grapes every year since the vines started producing. Bill and Nancy's daughter Kristy earned a business degree from Cal Poly, then returned to Anderson Valley to help manage the family's Foursight Winery, across the street from Navarro's latest vineyard planting.
Navarro has purchased certified organic Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Deborah and Ed Wallo for 22 years. Navarro purchases only part of the vineyard's grapes; Deborah and Ed use half the grapes for their own winery, Yorkville Cellars.
The Charles' vineyard is in Anderson Valley; this is Mendocino's coldest appellation because of its proximity to the ocean and on summer days the grapes are cooled by ocean breezes. If you drive south along Highway 128 from the Charles' vineyard in Boonville, Yorkville Highlands is the adjacent AVA. The ocean breezes diminish this distance from the coast but Yorkville's higher altitude helps mitigate the daily high temperatures. This wine is from grapes grown in these two cool climates during a particularly chilly vintage. Harvest was in mid-October with little heat to drive up grape sugars, consequently the alcohol is restrained. The season also fostered high natural grape acidity and a flavor profile that has plenty of "gooseberry," a characteristic of New Zealand Savvy. Try it with pasta tossed with fresh chèvre, sautéed prawns and dill.