In addition to the color mutations, black, grey and white, at least 156 European grape varieties have been identified by DNA analysis to have a direct parent-offspring relationship with Pinot. Surprisingly, Pinot is the parent of Chardonnay and Gamay, the grandparent of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc and the great grandparent of Colombard and Cabernet Sauvignon. Pinot has been propagated by vegetative reproduction for centuries and the variety is thought to have existed for about 2,000 years; enough time for the vine to mutate into more than 1,000 registered clones. French ampelographers found white mutations of Pinot Gris in Chassagne-Montrachet in 1895, and then in Nuits-Saint-Georges in 1896, which means the white mutation had occurred at least twice and was not a mutation of Pinot Noir as previously thought. Pinot Blanc's viticultural characteristics are similar to Gris and Noir: early bud-break and ripening, requiring a temperate climate, small berries and a susceptibility to fungal diseases.
A Pinot vine with both white and grey fruit; even within the blanc clusters are small gris berries.
Jim Klein, Navarro's winemaker, inspecting grapes before harvest. Much of Jim's time is spent in the vineyards; in the winter he checks vineyard drainage, in the spring pruning levels and suckering, in the summer he assesses crop load and disease issues, finally, before harvest, checks thinning results and ripeness.
August 2013 was warm in Mendocino, consequently harvest was about ten days earlier this vintage as compared to 2012. After destemming and pressing, the juice was cool-fermented in stainless steel, then racked to French oak puncheons. A cuvée including 6% Chardonnay delighted the staff with its bright, citrus-herbal flavors and fresh clover aromas. Celebrate spring by serving it with fresh Laychee cheese or pair with sausages and fennel-apple slaw for an affordable supper.