Navarro's Muscat Blanc vines reacted to chilly weather during flowering in June 2010 by setting a very light crop. This was followed by a cool summer, with only six afternoons of temperatures reaching 90°F. Given the cool and late season, we had a hunch that the light crop was a blessing in disguise since it would be relatively easy for the vines to ripen the fruit with such a high leaf to fruit ratio. Then, in late September, the morning and evening weather turned cold and drizzly yet again, and by October many of the Muscat clusters were infected with botrytis. We kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn't be invaded by yellowjackets. Wasps can decimate a botrytised vineyard by sucking out the juice in aromatic berries with rot-softened skin and introducing funk. By mid October, the un-rotted grapes were fully ripe, and the berries affected with the noble rot had shriveled. Let's pick! The vineyard staff decided on a two-pass-pick; rotted clusters were harvested first by half the crew (for the dessert Muscat we released last November), followed by the rest of the crew picking perfectly golden fruit in the second pass; the latter providing juice for this bottling.
Bins of un-rotted Muscat grapes ready to be made into wine.
Each year we spend considerable time tasting and blending. The grapes for this bottling had modest sugars at harvest so the alcohol is low and the finish is surprisingly dry. This Muscat is food-friendly and its spicy flavors make it a perfect complement for Chinese chicken salad.
"Exceptional. So floral and spiced you'll expect a slightly sweet wine. But it's bone dry, yet has no bitterness, which is a trait common to Muscat. I have never tasted a better dry Muscat." -VintageExperiences.com
We have rarely seen such an aromatic wine with such an incredibly long, yet dry, finish, thanks to the cool season. No wonder it has won multiple Gold Medals and was declared Best of Show.
These are the rotted clusters we removed by hand.