We purchase two fields of Pinot Gris from our next-door neighbor, Valley Foothills Vineyard, just across our fence to the west. The Ridge block was initially planted for Navarro in 1989 and the first release of wine produced from this field was the 1993 vintage; the original rootstock was AXR1 and the vines eventually succumbed to phylloxera in the 2000s. A second Ridge block was planted on resistant rootstock in 1995 and the wine from that field is usually blended with Navarro's Middle Ridge as the vines share the same Bearwallow-Wolfey complex soil, a shallow loamy soil over Franciscan sandstone. This classic loam for Anderson Valley Pinot Noir was also prized by the old apple growers. Pinot Gris from these shallower soils produce wines with tropical stone fruit flavors and the aroma of hazelnut oil. Valley Foothills planted a third block of Gris in 2002 in deep Pinole loam adjacent to a creek.
Young vines in springtime. This season their growth will result in permanent trunks terminating near the top of the quarter-inch rebar stakes. The reusable plastic tubes provide a warm, wind-free environment for young vines while also protecting against jackrabbit damage.
Aaron drawing a wine sample from one of our smaller ovals. We can control the fermentation temperature of the juice as each oval has a refrigerated stainless steel cooling panel mounted inside. Solenoids control the flow of refrigerants which can be monitored and adjusted online. If we are wide awake at 2 AM, rather than playing Wordle, we can log on and see how the fermentations are proceeding in 33 French oak ovals and 45 stainless steel tanks.
Those roots reach into a deeper soil and the vines easily put on substantially more growth and carry larger clusters, resulting in lighter, floral wines with a hint of fresh herbs, perfect for a Pinot Grigio flavor profile. We purchased the grapes from this field for our Pinot Grigio in 2009—and every year since—and we simply named the field "New" block. Once the 2009 Grigio was entered into Navarro's computer system the name is not easily changed so this field, with vines planted 20 years ago, is named New in perpetuity. The fruit from this field constitutes 85% of this bottling and displays surprising crispness and... well... newness! Double Gold Medal winner.