The first grapes we harvest at Navarro are for producing juice. Our goal, whether for wine or juice, is to produce something that is flavorful, true-to-variety and grown in a sustainable manner. In spite of the fact that we are harvesting grapes that otherwise could be made into more expensive wine, harvesting for juice is fun; it gives us a preview of the upcoming harvest. Verjus was discovered in the Middle Ages as a way to acidify foods; the grapes are harvested before they are fully ripe to provide plenty of zing. On a salad it can replace vinegar for a more wine-friendly ingredient. At home we use it in cooking to replace lemon juice, and yes, we do drink jus-ade (water, verjus, ice, and a splash of Gewürztraminer juice). A couple of weeks after the verjus harvest, we harvest Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer for juice at the same level of ripeness as sparkling wine; harvesting them earlier would result in much less flavor and harvesting them later would make them too cloying.
Navarro's juices are fun for young and old alike. |
Alisa, Emilia and Zoë have a lesson in tasting room sales at Navarro's Deep End Pinot Noir barrel tasting.
We cold filter these juices almost immediately so that the snappy fruit flavors of harvest remain fresh. The Pinot tastes of strawberry and rhubarb and this vintage we've blended in a little verjus to add a tang to the finish. The Gewürztraminer is overtly floral with seductive tropical flavors; both the Gewürz and Pinot juices are best served very cold; they can be drunk straight, over ice or with sparkling water. Last year our Gewürztraminer juice garnered a Gold Medal at the Florida State Fair and the Verjus won the 2012 Artisanal Taste Test Award for Cooking Light magazine.