Thirty or so years ago we were dining at the Boonville Hotel and seated across the room was a local rancher cuddled up to his young sweetie. We overheard him order two blood-rare steaks and a bottle of Navarro Cluster Select
Riesling. After a moment's hesitation, the baffled waiter asked if he wanted the small (375 ml) bottle. “Bring us the big bottle” the rancher responded, “I like my wine sweet, just like my girlfriend.” The couple loved the pairing and polished off both steaks and the bottle; we should have gone over and thanked him for ordering our wine, but we somehow felt uncomfortable congratulating him on his choice of sweet wine with steak. What fools we were! Why was the rancher's choice so different than drinking Sauternes with Foie Gras? Which wines are supposed to complement which foods totally changes with history and culture. The Romans, for example, drank predominately sweet wines with meat dishes, the sweeter and older, the more the wines were prized. Pliny wrote about a wine from 121 BC, so famous a vintage of classical antiquity, that it was given the name of the Consul Optimus: “The wine now has lasted for 200 years... but has assumed the thickness of honey as is the way with very old wines.”
Campsite vineyard was planted in 1996 to three distinct Riesling clones planted on two different rootstocks. There are 300 acres of forest above the
Campsite; the cool air draining off the hills during summer afternoons makes this Navarro's coolest viticultural site on the valley floor.
Jim and Ted on the steps of the State Capitol accepting Best of Show award for this wine. Little did we expect when we first started growing grapes, that the wines bringing Navarro the most international acclaim, would be sweet and made from rotten grapes.
“Similar in style to a German beerenauslese, this succulent wine has a lovely perfumed nose and rich honeyed fruit on the palate. Perfect by itself after a meal in lieu of dessert.”
The oldest Navarro Cluster Select Riesling has only 33 years under its belt, but it continues to impress us with its longevity as grape sugars and high acidity are natural preservatives. This wine is lovely with pumpkin or huckleberry pie but please experiment; try it with a ham and leek quiche or with crispy fried chicken wings while watching a big game. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class. Best of Show.
Botrytis affected grapes: it's an unusual marketing ploy to show rotten fruit to customers who might purchase our dessert wines but, honestly, at Navarro we consider this kind of rot as something to proudly photograph.