We are frequently bewildered by the rookie decisions that we made years ago when we first started making and selling wine. One of the amusing examples is the name of this wine. We started making this traditional blend over 30 years ago, when consumers were much less wine-savvy. Consequently, we chose a tongue tickling, Germanic word that no one could pronounce. It's a bit late now to change our minds about the name. At one point in history Edelzwicker was considered superior to all four of the individual noble grape varieties. Unfortunately labeling laws in Alsace have now been modified allowing the use of the moniker for a blend including grape varieties that produce bland wine when compared to the noble varieties—so much for our foresight. This bottling is 40% Pinot Gris, 32% Gewürztraminer and 28% Riesling; all considered noble in Alsace. The Pinot Gris was harvested in the second week of September; 60% from Navarro's Middle Ridge vineyard and the remainder harvested four days later at Helluva Vineyards in Boonville.
Sheep grazing in Campsite Riesling, spring 2021. We tend a flock of about 250 ewes and welcomed about 200 new lambs this spring. About 150 of our ewes are Babydolls, and because of their short, stocky build, they can remain in the vineyard all year eating weeds and suckering vines. They are extremely thrifty and gain weight when eating the tender shoots at the base of vines. Since we don't use herbicides, these are part of our arsenal to reduce weed competition.
Casey (left) and Hagen in Zevenwacht Vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Casey is the experienced vineyard manager at Valley Foothills Vineyard and grew some of the Gewürz, Riesling and Pinot Gris in this bottling. Hagen was an intern for Navarro in 2006 and now runs the family winery that was founded in 1800.
The Gewürztraminer portion is from Navarro's North Hill and the Riesling was produced from our next-door neighbor's grapes. Each lot was fermented, then aged, sur lie in French oak ovals for eight months; the extended time resting on the yeast added a roundness to the cuvée. Floral aromas, fruity flavors with residual grape sugars balanced by good acidity. Gold Medal winner. Best of Show.
Peek-a-boo. We ferment and age the “noble” grape varieties—Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat Blanc—in these refrigerated oak ovals. Edel-zwicker translates as noble blend.