Normally about half of this bottling is produced from grapes grown in Potter Valley, northeast of Anderson Valley in inland Mendocino. Unfortunately these grapes were ruined in 2020 by the fires and intense smoke inland, so the grapes that produced the wine for this vintage are all from Anderson Valley—89% grown at Navarro and the balance by our next-door neighbor. The largest portion of this bottling—33% of the total—was produced from grapes grown on vines that we planted in 1983. That vineyard was planted with bud wood from Robert Young's vineyard in Sonoma, renowned for the abundance of little berries in each cluster.
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We purchased this Europress in 2020 to increase the speed at which we can process grapes. This new press can process about eight tons of destemmed grapes per cycle replacing an older, smaller press with a capacity of less than two tons. To clean the press thoroughly you have to crawl inside, which may require a change of footwear upon descent.
Ulises removing bungs from empty seasoned barrels. When barrels are stored empty, they are filled with sulfur dioxide gas to prevent any spoilage organisms from growing inside. We cover the silicone bungs with food-grade plastic to prevent damage from the gas. Before reuse, the barrels are thoroughly cleaned with steaming hot water as we don't want the SO2 to inhibit fermentation.
The second most important portion—31% of the total—is from three of the vineyard blocks in front of Navarro's tasting room planted to clone ENTAV 76; most of this component was used as the base wine for our more expensive 2020 Mendocino bottling. Five other smaller lots were also included; these were a few excess barrels of wines left over from blending the Première Reserve and Mendocino bottlings in the correct ratios. All the wines were aged in French oak barrels—about 25% new—and a portion of the wine was additionally fermented in the barrel. Philo's signature of lemon and poached pear flavors are augmented with toast and vanilla accents from aging nine months in French oak barrels. Gold Medal winner.