Navarro is committed to producing good wine at affordable prices. We are well aware of how hard farmers work to make a living and we know many of the folks who visit Navarro's tasting room are on a budget too. During years with a scant crop it is tough to make a distinctive $12 Chardonnay. Luckily the harvest was generous in 2006 and that means music in the bottle for Table Wine fans. In fact we ended up producing more 2006 Chardonnay wine than we bottled. Almost 33% was sold in bulk to other wineries; tough on the financial plan but that's nothing new in farming. This bottling may be one of the best buys of the vintage. Because of the late, cool harvest the vineyard crew selectively picked sections of the best fields as separate lots to get the ripest fruit possible. Our best field for Navarro's Première Reserve blend is "Hammer Olsen" but in chilly 2006 there were sections of the field that weren't ripe enough for the Reserve bottling.
We thin shoots and excess fruit early in the season to make it easier for the vines to ripen the remaining fruit, nonetheless fields don't ripen evenly, especially in cool years.
Another field planted to Dijon clones 96 and 76 also usually goes into our most expensive Chardonnay but likewise, part of this block didn't make the Reserve ripeness cut. Rather than put these lower brix lots into our mid-priced Mendocino bottling, we decided to make a 100% Anderson Valley Chardonnay from our two best fields and label it Table Wine for our Pre Release friends. It rings out in a hootenanny of apple, pear and lemon zest flavors. Don't miss out; it's an exceptional value for estate fruit aged in French oak barrels.
Hammer Olsen field is named after an early farmer in the Anderson Valley who cultivated hay with a team of horses where we now grow Chardonnay. Sarah's high school pal, Sophia Bates of
The Apple Farm, is in Maine this year learning the joys and tribulations of farming with a 2 horsepower plow.