Harvest 2015 was unusual. In fact, the entire season bordered on bizarre. Due to a warm winter budbreak was early, in February, with warm days and frosty nights. Then in May, when the vines were flowering, the weather turned cold and windy for the entire month reducing crops in some varieties dramatically. Schizophrenic summer weather, constantly shifting from hot to cool, confused us and the vines even more. As expected with an early budbreak, harvest was also early, at the end of August instead of September. One would expect that early ripening grape varieties should always ripen their fruit before late ripeners. Not so in 2015! Ed Berry's Zinfandel, usually a late ripener, was harvested before this year's early-ripening Pinot Blanc. Unpredictable ripening created some logistical problems in the winery.
Navarro's crush pad at 3:30 AM. During harvest we open the winery at 3 AM to begin processing the grapes that our vineyard crew began harvesting at 1 AM. By late morning we've completed destemming and pressing estate grown fruit which leaves the rest of the day to process grapes from outside growers.
Jim Klein, winemaker and Gaia. Jim and his dog spend a lot of time in this truck; an important responsibility is making sure the grapes harvested for Navarro are carefully farmed, requiring several visits to each grower throughout the year.
Fortunately we still had tanks free to slowly cool ferment the Pinot Blanc juice. After fermentation, the wine was aged four months in seasoned French oak casks improving mouth-feel and adding a yeasty element. In prior vintages we found that small additions of Chardonnay lengthened the palate; in 2016, after a series of tastings, we decided on a 12% addition. This gem has flavors of quince, Asian pear and tangerine with a flinty, tart finish.