• 2014 Chardonnay
    Première Reserve
    Anderson Valley, Mendocino
    • (750 ml) Sold Out!
    • (375 ml) Sold Out!
    • (1.5 L Magnum) Sold Out!
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September's child is full of grace Recent Press

In Philo's marine microclimate, Chardonnay vines routinely typically ripen their fruit about a week after Pinot Noir and two weeks after Gewürztraminer. During harvest we typically expect grape sugars in most varieties to rise about one degree Brix (one percent sugar) every four to five days but the rate varies; when the weather is cool, sugar accumulation is slow. Navarro's Chardonnay grapes historically have ripened in cool mid-October weather so ripening can be excruciatingly slow. Early budbreak in 2013 and 2014 resulted in the grapes ripening early; Chardonnay vines seemed to love the warm harvest weather and, for the first time, ripened their fruit in mid to late September, with sugar accumulation at a rate we consider normal for the other varieties we grow.

Weed-eating a perimeter row in Navarro's Garden Spot. [above] At Navarro, we control weeds under the vine-row either with Babydoll sheep or by weed-eating or removal with implements; all are labor intensive, arduous tasks. Although we don't use herbicides, we acknowledge that they would be easier and much cheaper.
Capo protecting his friends. [right] The majority of Navarro's vineyards were planted, or now have been replanted, with a trellis high enough for babydoll sheep to graze under the vines all year long, reducing the need for hand-hoeing, weed-eating or trunk-suckering. To fend off predators, livestock guardian dogs are raised with the sheep and live with them throughout the year.

We harvested at night, when the fruit was cold; harsh skin phenolics were minimized when the grapes were destemmed and pressed cold. After chilling the juice for three days, allowing grape-solids to settle out, the clear juice was then racked to a refrigerated cask to slowly ferment. After a leisurely rate of fermentation was established, the must was then racked to French oak barrels, 28% new, to ferment dry, then age for ten months sur lie. A full orchestra Chardonnay: opulent French oak, reverberating ripe red pear and Gala apple flavors with notes of pineapple, coriander and caramel. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.

  • Harvested: Sept. 18 to 30, 2014
  • Sugars at harvest: 24.0° Brix
  • Bottled: June 18 to 22, 2015
  • Cases produced: 1851
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Titratable acidity: 7.6 g/L
  • pH: 3.39