We bottled Navarro's first Edelzwicker in 1979, and by 1995 it had become a staple in Navarro's wine portfolio. Navarro's Edelzwicker is a blend primarily of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and occasionally Muscat Blanc; we borrowed the name from Alsace where these four grape varieties are considered “noble” (edel = noble and zwicker = blend). Edelzwicker blends have been made in Alsace for over a century, and it's easy to see why these four “noble” grapes combine to form a wine that is superior to any of the ingredient wines. In fact, a century ago before varietal bottlings became fashionable, Edelzwickers were the most prized bottlings in Alsace. We began Navarro's blending tastings for the 2016 Edelzwicker by selecting Pinot Gris as the base wine. When made from fully ripe fruit, Pinot Gris wines tend to have low acidity with broad flavors and an “oily” texture that contributes to their full-bodied personality.
Blending Edelzwicker, day 4. The sample bottles are identified only by number; the contents of the sample bottles aren't disclosed until after everyone votes for their favorite wine.
Navarro's 2016 crush crew. Most are full-time, seasoned employees with a combined total of over 200 harvests under their belts; even all of Navarro's 2016 interns have prior harvest experiences.
We first looked to pair Gris with Riesling, a late ripener in Philo's maritime climate. This variety has bracing acidity and provides structure and zip to the blend with some crisp red apple flavors. The winning blend was 66% Gris and 34% Riesling. We next looked at varying amounts of Gewürz to complement the winning Gris-Riesling blend. Gewürztraminer is remarkably flavorful with a rich mid-palate; it fills out the mouth and adds some spice and tangerine-lychee notes to the bouquet. In the final tasting we added a touch of Muscat for a dab of lingering perfume. We have actually had restauranteurs complain that the price is too low but our tasting room customers never grumble. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.