The first vintage of Navarro's dry Chardonnay-based table wine was 1981. The earliest vintages frequently included additions of other grape varieties. To meet legal requirements for our appellation, a minimum of 85% of the wine in the bottle must be produced from the grape variety listed on the label; consequently, until 1987, our Chardonnay-based wines were labelled as Vin Blanc
. Navarro's Chardonnay plantings have quadrupled since 1981; Chardonnay Table Wine
made its debut in 1988 as it is now produced entirely from Chardonnay grapes. In this vintage, the wine produced from Navarro-grown grapes constitutes half of the total, with the remainder produced from grapes grown by two other growers: a third from our next-door neighbor Valley Foothills Vineyards, and the remainder from Tollini Vineyards in Redwood Valley. All of Navarro's raw Chardonnay lots are aged in French oak barrels; 100% of this bottling was barrel-aged for nine months.
Navarro's tasting room staff, June 2018. From right to left: Bill, Kerri, Julia, Pat, Julia, Chris and Tyler. This crew has worked at Navarro for an average of over sixteen years; they probably can answer any wine question thrown their way.
Moving Navarro's flock of babydoll sheep into the Chardonnay field closest to the tasting room. The tender, sweet grape shoots are the first thing the sheep want to eat. The vines' fruiting zone is out of reach, but the sheep do an amazing job of consuming all the (unwanted) trunk suckers.
After a series of three tastings, Navarro's staff selected a cuvée from several lots of wine that were intended for our Mendocino and Première Reserve bottlings. We could have produced more Table Wine, but three additional Chardonnay lots added little to our very attractive 2017 blend and consequently were sold off as bulk wine. Since this cuvée was selected from wines that were intended for either the Reserve or Mendocino bottlings, a small part of the wine was barrel-fermented and a larger part was cool-fermented in stainless steel without a malolactic fermentation. As a result, this vintage of Table Wine more closely resembles the Mendocino than the Reserve in style. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.