We planted our first Pinot Noir vineyards in 1975 near the valley
floor in Philo. In the nineties, we expanded our Philo vineyards up the hill
. Then in 2009, we planted fifteen acres of Pinot in Boonville, about ten miles inland from Philo. On a typical summer afternoon, Boonville is about two degrees warmer than our Philo valley
vineyards, with the hill
sites about two degrees cooler than the valley
sites. In the summer, Boonville has the coldest nighttime temperatures and the hill
sites the warmest. Boonville consequently has a later budbreak yet ripens earlier; the shorter growing season produces fruit with a flavor profile of black cherry, cloves and blackberry combined with a firm tannin backbone.
Sarah separating and sorting green grape berries. Harvest plans begin in July with estimating the potential size of harvest and determining whether crop thinning is desirable. We take 25 random cluster samples from each block to determine how many clusters exist in every field. Next, to determine potential cluster weight, we remove and count the berries from the clusters, dividing them into two groups by potential berry size. Grape berries typically have two seeds but many clusters contain one-seeded berries as well, which are smaller. Tedious work, but we're pleased if there is no more than a 5% to 10% variance from the estimated to the actual yield.
The majority of Navarro's Pinot vineyards feature a high trellis which allows our flock of miniature Babydoll sheep to remain in the vineyard during the growing season. They sucker the vines, keep the weeds under control and are quieter and more fuel efficient than tractors.
Philo's valley vineyards have a more temperate climate producing fruit with a plum-cherry flavor profile, a juicy mid-palate and floral notes suggesting lavender. The Philo hill vineyards, with the coolest days and the warmest nights, has the longest growing season of all, producing fruit with a strawberry, red-cherry core, and a bouquet hinting of rose-petal. This bottling is from 79% Philo valley, 15% Boonville and 6% Philo hill fruit, aged in seasoned French oak barrels.
That's a lot of complexity for less than $20 ($17.55 by the case) for a bottle of Gold Medal winning, Best of Class Pinot Noir.