In years like 2006 and 2016, we had bumper crops mainly due to unusually large berries —Gewürztraminer clusters in Philo typically weigh about 100 grams but in 2006 they averaged 150 grams. Grape clusters in Méthode Champenoise
sparkling wines are slowly pressed without destemming to avoid extracting phenolics from the skins; large berries are highly desirable for sparkling wine production as they have a high ratio of juice to skins. Navarro releases about 900 cases of sparklers to our wine friends during the holidays but during a good vintage for sparkling wine we may harvest enough grapes for double our annual needs. Once bottled, sparkling wine improves with each additional year of aging en tirage
with the most change occurring during the first four to five years. These are the same base wines as we released last year but since these bottles weren't disgorged until June 2020, they have spent an extra year en tirage
. The 2016
has now spent 50% more time en tirage
making it smoother and creamier, emphasizing the enticing yeasty notes. The 2013, after six years on the yeast, is a stunner whose complexity has resolved with inviting delicate beads of mousse.
Haley, a winery intern in 2020, carrying tubes of fermenting juice from each of Navarro's oval-fermenting vineyard lots. We measure how much sugar was consumed during each 24 hour period so that we can accurately control the rate of fermentation for each cask of wine.