What sets Méthode à l'Ancienne Pinot Noir apart is its focus on showcasing the pure expression of the grape reflecting its Philo terroir. Our first harvest of Pinot Noir was in 1978; four vintages later a winemaker from an old Burgundian family sampled our 1982 Pinot Noir wines directly from the barrel. We were comparing two fermentation methods: using modern stainless-steel pumps and the traditional Burgundian approach of manual mixing (pigeage) by hand (in our case) or feet. After trying the pumped wine, he offered polite comments but confessed it felt "manipulated." However, upon tasting the punched-down wine, he smiled, sighed and exclaimed, “Ah, now I taste the vineyard.” He recommended aging our estate Pinot in different barrels—ones that match oak flavors to the fruit's profile, creating a harmonious fusion. In the following vintage, hand-punched-down wine, aged in the recommended barrels, became Navarro's first Méthode à l'Ancienne Pinot Noir.
Our cellar is small so we have to stack barrels, two per cradle and four high. Much easier to hoist with a forklift.
Alfredo adding sulfur dioxide gas to empty barrels during storage to prevent unwanted mold. Before the barrel is reused, rotating jets of hot water spray the barrel's interior removing the SO2.
While this wine does feature expensive oak flavors, they complement the vineyard's character without overpowering it, making the underlying flavors subtler than wine aged in toastier barrels with smoky oak perfume. We age both the Deep End cuvée and the Méthode à l'Ancienne in French oak barrels, about a third new for this bottling. The Deep End remains in the barrel for 16 months, while the Méthode remains for 10 months so that the fruit-driven elements remain bright. Gold Medal winner.