We harvested our Riesling grapes over a two-day period in October 2017 and this bottling—primarily a clonal selection from our Campsite Riesling vineyard—is a cuvée from the second day's harvest. The field is a gentle hillside; thanks to easy access at the bottom of the field from a road adjacent to a creek, harvest usually begins in the lower blocks of the field. The lower sections are planted to two clones from budwood imported two or three decades ago from Alsace and Germany. The upper part of the field, harvested on the second day, is planted to FPS 10, an older, well-regarded clonal selection from California's library of Riesling vines. The vines in this block look healthy and have normal vigor but always bear a light crop per lineal foot of trellis, in part because of the typically small clusters. Riesling berries have thin, delicate skins; they sunburn easily and are subject to rot once the berries sugar up. There is a hint of apricot in this 2017 wine, imparted by some of the clusters being affected with the noble rot (botrytis). The fruit from this section of the field was pressed and the juice was fermented and then aged six months in a seasoned, refrigerated French oak oval.
Frost protecting the vines in early spring. Since water is a limited resource, we prefer to use fans for frost protection, but if there is no temperature inversion with warmer air aloft, we have to protect the wines by sprinkling stored-up rainwater. In a severe frost, the water freezes around the growing green buds . As long as water is being sprinkled, the ice around the bud protects the delicate green tissue. However, the water must remain on until all the ice has melted which can be several hours after the sun rises. Turn off the water too soon, and even if the air temperature is above freezing, all the buds encased in ice will be destroyed.
In a morning tasting in mid-March, Navarro's tasting panel chose a cuvée that included the addition of a second lot—also harvested on the second day—from vines planted with a more recent German clone known for its floral aromatics. Navarro's tasting room staff waxed eloquent describing the wine: “Bee hives waking up in spring. Mouth has apple, stone fruit and citrus. Very clean, very pretty,” according to Pat. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.