Harvest dates over the last two decades have slowly inched earlier and earlier, a phenomenon which understandably has us concerned as excess heat during ripening can greatly reduce the aromatics of delicate white grapes. Studies have revealed that when a darkly colored grape cluster is exposed to direct sunlight, the inside berries are over 60°F hotter than the outside air temperature. In wine country during harvest, that's sous vide temperature! In the late 1990s we planted two Gewürz vineyards using French trellis designs in which the shoots are trained in vertical panels so that rows of vines could grow closer together. Unfortunately many of the grape clusters in a VSP trellis (vertically shoot positioned) are exposed to direct sunlight, so in 2000 we began replanting what have historically been our three best Gewürz fields, this time incorporating a Navarro-designed triple-T trellis that keeps the clusters in the shade during the heat of the day.
Although Anderson Valley's climate is temperate due to daily ocean breezes, our latitude is close to that of Madrid, Spain, which provides us with a lot of solar radiation. Navarro's triple-T trellis was designed to protect delicate varietal grapes from the direct sun.
Ripe Gewürztraminer clusters are usually russet in color at harvest but if they are grown in direct sunlight they turn yellow and are less aromatic. The triple-T trellis keeps the fruit cool under the canopy, exposed only to dappled sunlight.
Grapes grown on Navarro's triple-T trellis proved to have fresher aromas and flavors than grapes grown on the VSP trellis. This was especially true in 2016, and this bottling was produced exclusively from grapes grown under the triple-T. The juice from each of six sub-blocks was cool-fermented, and aged sur lie for nine months in seasoned oak ovals. After a series of nine tastings the final blend was selected. We were dazzled by the freshness and crispness of this bone-dry cuvée; it's the driest Gewürz we've ever bottled but features a rounded mouthfeel, a result of Navarro's sur lie aging regime. Gold Medal winner.