Navarro's Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from grapes grown on the Berry family's Rattlesnake Canyon Vineyard
above Talmage, southeast of Ukiah. The Canyon
is really two hillsides—one facing south and the other north—with a canyon running between them. The upper sections are steeply terraced and can only be farmed with a crawler tractor. The soils are rocky and the vines struggle, producing loose clusters with small berries, packed with flavor. The lower section is flatter with richer soils and more vigorous vines. 2017 brought a record amount of rain—over 50 inches—to the Ukiah area. It was perfect for the upper sections and the vines were able to be dry-farmed and produced balanced, concentrated wines. The lower section had plenty of soil moisture and the vines grew a little too vigorously—there's a saying that if Cabernet grows like a vegetable, the wine will taste like a vegetable.
Jim, Navarro's winemaker, hiking to the top of Rattlesnake Canyon Vineyard in springtime. The vines have to send their roots deep to survive in this steep, rock-laden site.
Ed Berry dumping buckets of grapes into the bin. Tossing around 30-pound buckets of fruit all day is serious work. We miss Ed's Mom, Donna, who recently passed away; she was proud of her son's hard work.
We fermented and aged Berry Cab as three separate wines: North, South and Lower. After a two-week fermentation, the wines were racked to seasoned French oak barrels, then aged for 22 months in barrel. We were pleased with the wine produced from North and South—which we combined to produce this bottling—but not with the Lower which was too vegetative and thus sold off as bulk wine. After bottling without filtration, the wine was bottle-aged in our cool cellar for another 18 months before release. Full flavors of green olive, chocolate, chipotle and blackberry simply beg for a steak. Gold Medal winner.