Our favorite tome for the characteristics of grape varieties is the encyclopedic Wine Grapes
—1,242 pages covering an amazing 1,368 wine grape varieties—by Robinson, Harding and Vouillamoz. Each variety is discussed in detail with regards to its viticulture, wine character, history and country of origin. The name given to each variety is determined by the country of origin which seems logical but sometimes is a little confusing. Zinfandel's origins are in Croatia so if you are searching for Zinfandel—or Primitivo—the entry is “see Tribidrag.” Zinfandel was originally thought to come from Puglia, Italy where it is known as Primitivo. Although Zinfandel and Primitivo are the same grape variety, nurseries have imported clones of Primitivo from Puglia and in California they are not considered synonyms but separate varieties. A California wine produced from Primitivo grapes cannot be labeled as Zinfandel, but ironically the TTB has allowed imported Puglia wines to be labeled as Zinfandel.
Lynne has been Navarro's head bookkeeper —and a friend—for decades. She retired this year but stuck around to fill in while our new bookkeeper is on maternity leave, graciously helping us pay bills in the meanwhile. Note the dog's nose on Lynne's chair; we have several dogs and once they are admitted to the office, they immediately head to Lynne's desk for treats.
We ferment Zinfandel in these five-ton stainless steel fermenters. We are concerned about bitter seed tannins so we avoid pumps and keep the skins macerating with the juice by punching down the fruit by hand.
We harvested four vineyard blocks of 60- to 90-year-old heritage vines in 2019 and this Old Vine bottling is from the two oldest blocks at Tollini Vineyards and Berry Vineyards. Full bodied and smacking of olallieberry jam with a briary, brambly undercurrent. Bring on the grilled steaks. We have only a modest quantity and due to forest fires there is no 2020 Navarro Zinfandel. Gold Medal winner.
Bianca has been working at Navarro for almost a decade and now is Navarro's head of bookkeeping.