Stomping Girl Barrel Tasting (click for slideshow)

Stomping Girl Wines had a great turn out for our first barrel tasting event featuring our ’08 Pinot Noirs–Lone Oak Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands and Split Rock, Sonoma Coast.  The wines are developing fantastically with cherry and spice flavors coming through and nicely balanced on the  palette.  We also pulled a barrel sample of our ’08 Las Brisas, Carneros, Pinot–it’s displaying nice cherry fruit flavors and a silky, velvety texture in the mouth.

Thanks to those who came, we had a great time.  And thank you to Maureen Sullivan for taking the photos!  Here is one review of the event.

It has been a while since Uzi and I have indulged ourselves with top notch Burgundy. grand_cru I won’t go into the reasons but I want to let you know that amidst what has become a daily barrage of economic and financial bad news, it was a pleasure to receive a bit of good news in this month’s newsletter from Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, CA.  He is offering Red Burgundy at 40% off by the bottle and 50% off by the case.   

We are rarely disappointed with a Kermit Lynch purchase–from his roses, to his Cote de Rhones, to his Burgundy offerings–and are definitely going to take advantage of that 40% off and take home some of these red Burgundies.  I’m thinking of picking up a 2006 Bourgogne Rouge that’ll work for any day of the week.  I think I’ll take a 2006 Santaney “Les Gravieres”–Uzi and I enjoyed a bottle of this years ago at Rivoli and liked it so much we tracked down the importer and bought a case.  I can’t pass up a 2005 Gevrey-Cambertin Domaine Boillot “Les Evocelles” on sale.  We shared a bottle of this on our anniversary a few years back and I can’t wait to do it again this year.  And finally, a 2004 Chambolle-Musigny on the list looks good.  I don’t think I’ve had this wine, it is one of Uzi’s picks and he has great taste in Burgundies. Besides, the name is so beautiful and fun to say that it is nice to have a bottle around to remind you of this poetic sounding and poetic tasting wine. Try saying it… “Chambolle-Musigny…”  

Burgundy has served as inspiration for our own production of Pinot Noir from Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sonoma Coast.  So this is a perfect opportunity to taste a few bottles and keep us on track to producing a Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.  

Go enjoy some for yourself.  And let us know of any other wine deals you come across.

glass wine thief

glass wine thief

Uzi wanted a wine thief for Christmas.  A fancy hand-blown glass wine thief to replace the plastic one he’s had for the last six years.  The theory is that if wine tastes better in a fancy wine glass, like a Reidel, maybe it will also taste better from a classy glass thief. 

Ever tried to track down a wine thief?  Conjures up images of empty wine bottles strewn along a trail of red footprints, doesn’t it?  No, a wine thief is a tool used to draw out small amounts of wine from a barrel for tasting.  Lucky for me there happens to be a Berkeley business that makes hand-blown glass objects and tools for labs…including wine thieves.

Regarding his theory, the glass wine thief may not affect the flavors and aromas of the wine like the shape of a wine glass will do, but it does enhance the barrel sampling process:  it shows off the color of the wine and it just looks great.  Uzi shall never have to taste a barrel-drawn sample of our wine from a plastic utensil again. Just don’t drop it on the concrete floor! 


p1010182I read somewhere about ‘the chore of topping off’. I don’t know how often that writer has to top off the barrels, or how many barrels (s)he must top off, but in our small production world I consider it far from a chore. It’s an opportunity to taste your wine and check on the aging progress and have some fun with friends while you are at it.

If you are a wine maker and have barrels of wine, you are likely performing this task.  I hope that, like me, you enjoy this chore.  No point in doing what you love (like making wine) if it becomes a chore.

There is something romantic about a barrel of wine sitting there, doing it’s thing…concentrating the flavors…evaporating the water, or alcohol in some cases…imparting oak flavors and aromas from the barrel wood to the wine.  As the wine evaporates it creates head space, ullage as French call it, at the top of the barrel.  Topping off is basically adding wine to the barrel to fill this head space.  To keep it full in order to minimize oxygen contact. Un-topped barrels, in most cases, will spoil the wine; turn it into vinegar or sherry.  Not what we are looking for.

Topping off is also an opportunity to taste the wine in the barrel.  And an opportunity to taste the topping wine, which we draw off from the wine in our stainless steel tanks–just to make sure we are adding good wine.  

Yesterday, I topped off our 08 Las Brisas in barrels.  Our friend Paul came over to ‘help’ us evaluate the progress.  It is always fun to hear other’s opinions and to take the opportunity to open previous years’ samples and compare.  Things are looking good.