After much anticipation, we had our first harvest on 9/30. We picked 1.25 tons of Beresini Pinot Noir and proceeded to our first crush. That is the lowest yield we’ve ever got from this one acre.

I am very exicted to announce that Stomping Girl Wines are now available at two top San Francisco Restaurants, COCO500 and the Moss Room.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to pour our wine for Clay Reynolds, the Executive Beverage Director for both restaurants. I was hoping he would like one of our offerings and serve it at Coco500.

I first poured our 2008 Sonoma Coast from Split Rock Vineyard for Clay.  We were swirling, sniffing, tasting, spitting and then I calmly waited for feedback…. finally, “I like it! Really nice wine, smooth, red berries and elegant finish.”

We chatted a bit about wine making protocol, cold soak, barrel selection, the vineyard location, our low intervention practices and selection of sustainably grown vineyards , while I opened our second wine–the Lone Oak Vineyard from Santa Lucia Highland.  Same ritual, see, swirl, sniff, taste, spit. Longer wait this time…”Wow, you used the same wine making protocol?” Everything was the same, apart from a slight increase in new French Oak.  What he was noticing was the difference in the vineyard locations.  The Santa Lucia Highland location has specific flavor profile (a very long way to say “terroir”, which I try to avoid) versus the Sonoma Coast, Split Rock Vineyard.  “Amazing how remarkable the differences are. I get more of the bass tones on the Lone Oak while the Split rock is a more high tones wine. I like this one too,”  says Clay.  His description also included these observations:  earthy undertones with a solid backbone of fruit, plummy with a lingering light acidity.  We both agreed the Lone Oak managed the new French Oak nicely.

It’s great tasting with someone who appreciates the fruit of your labor, especially if you learn something in the way of adjectives (high tones/bass tones.)

Clay could not make up his mind which one he’d take, so in the end he decided to take both. One for Coco500 and the other for the Moss Room.

Lorreta Keller , who owns Coco500 is an advocate for sustainably and locally grown ingredients. Keller is a co-owner of the Moss Room along with Charlie Phan (of Slanted Door fame), but is in charge of the kitchen where her style of cooking is carried on. Keller is known for her emphasis on using high quality, locally grown, seasonal ingredients in her Cal-Med dishes which produce bold flavors.  The Moss Room is a masterpiece of a restaurant built under the new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. The Moss Room practices the same philosophy of locally grown, organic when possible, ingredients. Locally grown is taken to extreme some times–they grow some of the greens and berries they serve in the restaurant right on the roof!

We are really excited about this opportunity to showcase our wines alongside some incredible food made the way we like it and the way we make our wine. Local, sustainable, tasty!

Check it out before they run out!  Cheers!

I have to admit I am not always comfortable being responsible for choosing wine from restaurant wine lists.  There are so many things to consider:  region, varietal, producer, vintage, price and, of course, what people will be eating.  So most often, I eye the wine list for something familiar.  We are Pinot Noir drinkers so I’m comfortable choosing a California or Oregon Pinot or a Burgundy.   There are other French wines I am familiar with (thanks to many trips there and to Kermit Lynch down the street) that I often look for.  And of course with the cornucopia of wines available from California, there are always other California wines on wine lists that I know and like.

Republic of Georgia wine

obscure wine?

So when we went to dinner at A Cote, a Rockridge French/Mediterranean-inspired small plates restaurant known for their selection of wines by the glass, I didn’t think I would have trouble selecting a wine.   But as I scanned their extensive wine list I got nervous.  Greece, Portugal, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia…the Republic of Georgia!  Italy was well-represented but I have to admit as much as I enjoy them, I don’t know a lot about Italian wines.  The French wines on the list, except for a few, were relatively unknown to me.  And there was a tiny box at the bottom with 3 California wines listed.

This is where a wait staff experienced in wine is important and the bartender on duty came to my rescue.  When we asked him about a light, crisp white to start off the evening, he pointed us to the Codega/Rabigato, Niepoort, Tiara from Duoro. I know that Duoro is known for Port, the opposite of light and crisp, and one summer I got completely burned out on cheap vinho verde, so I was a bit skeptical. The waiter kindly brought us a taste of it and it was nice.  I was actually in the mood for a cocktail anyway but Uzi ordered a glass of it.  We were both pleasantly surprised with the Portuguese wine.  It was fresh and crisp yet creamy; perfect to start the meal with and one of the least expensive wines on the menu.  Thank you, bartender, for encouraging us to get out of the rut and try something different. 

Bartenders and wait staff always seemed pleased when customers order something out of the ordinary (in this case, considering the wine list, that was not hard!) especially if it based on their recommendation.  When possible they will often offer a taste of it, if you are unsure.  Try it next time you’re out, you may “discover” a new find.  I may even go back and forgo a cocktail for the Saperavi, Vinoterra from the Kakheti Valley, Republic of Georgia.