The largest plantings of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains are in Italy, with most of the 33,000 acres going into the production of the sweet and slightly sparkling Moscato d'Asti. Production of California's sweet, fizzy Muscat wine is currently setting new records as the popularity of this wine style continues to woo more and more young wine drinkers. We suspect that many of these younger drinkers will eventually graduate to drier wines, as did the previous generation, who once clamored for White Zin. After forty years of coaxing customers to try our dry Gewürztraminer, we have some worries over increased Muscat grape production. For years the majority of Gewürztraminer wines, California or Europe, were sweet. New visitors to Navarro's tasting room sometimes pass over our flagship Gewürz since they don't expect this variety to be dry. We're somewhat relieved we only farm about three acres of Muscat.
Another of Ted's favorite reads by Robinson, Harding and Vouillamoz. Muscat's viticultural characteristics are described as: “Susceptible to powdery mildew, botrytis bunch rot and hymenoptera...” Sometimes a dictionary is handy when reading this encyclopedic tome and hymenoptera are one of the largest orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. That's our observation as well; it's hard for bees, ants, and wasps (and humans too) to resist Muscat's floral aromas.
Miguel Hernandez suckering Navarro's Hammer Olsen Muscat. In the winter, the vine being suckered was pruned to produce about twenty four shoots. The vine produced many times more shoots then that during the previous growing season and it was Miguel's task to remove the extras.
Not only does the variety present viticultural challenges in Anderson Valley's coastal climate, but to expand sales of this dry bottling, which defies common expectations of residual sugar level, would require years of pleading “Please try it; it's dry!”. The juice from our Muscat grapes was cool fermented in oak ovals where the wine rested on the lees for nine months. Aromas of gardenias, narcissus and orange peel with a startling dry finish, this aromatic bombshell is the perfect complement to oysters or prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.