Wine Tasting


Over the long weekend we met with Chris, our Sonoma Coast grower of Corona Creek Vineyards.  We compared barrel samples of 2009 Stomping Girl Pinot Noir Corona Creek Vineyard with barrel samples of Chris’ Corona Creek Vineyard.  They’re both still very young but coming along nicely.  We agreed our Corona Creek has great color, some black cherry notes along with a nice earthiness–like freshly turned up soil in the vineyards.  We then compared the ’09s to Chris’ bottled 2008 Corona Creek Pinot which had nice dark fruit flavors and aromas that continued to develop as we enjoyed the rest of the bottle with dinner that night.

We also visited Beresini vineyard in Carneros, anohter source of our 2009 Pinot, to check out the vines and discuss a new pruning technique with Steve, the owner.  We are extremely happy with our ’09 Beresini Vineyard Pinot Noir that’s in barrels right now and are keeping a close eye on our rows in his vineyard for the ’10 harvest.  His two dogs and our son romped while we talked in the vineyards.  Steve sent us home with a bottle of his own wine–aptly named “Black Dog.”

Beresini Vineyard

Beresini's black dog

Beresini vineyard

Uzi and Steve B.

Uzi had been been talking about this diner near Steve’s vineyard that has great biscuits–the Fremont Diner.  We were too late for breakfast but we stopped there for lunch.  It looks a little divey from the outside.  But the charm completely takes over as you notice the vineyards in the background, the lone chicken hanging with 2 friendly dogs outside  and the decor inside.  And the food is out of this world.  The food is down home cooking, all from scratch, fresh ingredients and definitely not for those on a diet.  I had the Whole Hog, a pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce, coleslaw and these incredible beans.  I am already contemplating my next menu selection…

Whole Hog Sandwich

the Whole Hog

Fremont Diner

Fremont Diner

fremont diner chicken

Fremont Diner chicken

Stomping Girl’s Inaugural Release Party was held on Saturday February 6.  I will venture to say that a stomping good time was had by all.  We poured our newly released 2008 Pinot Noirs: Split Rock Vineyard (Sonoma Coast) and Lone Oak Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands.)  We had a lively crowd, Deborah Crooks and her trio playing music, excellent “volunteer” helpers, and even the weather cooperated in the end.  Thanks to everyone who turned out!

The crowd at Stomping Girl Wines PartyStomping Girl Barrel

Kathryn and Uzi, Stomping Girl WinesStomping Girl Release Party, band

Stomping Girl Release Party, Crowd

Stomping Girl Release Party, CrowdPouring wine at Stomping Girl Release PartyPouring wine at Stomping Girl Release Party
Stomping Girl Release Party

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here! Come join us in celebrating the inaugural release of Stomping Girl wine. We’ll be pouring our newly released 2008 Pinot Noirs, serving food and enjoying good music.

What: Stomping Girl Release and Pick Up Party
When: February 6, 2010, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Where: 2323 4th Street, Berkeley, CA
Cross street is Bancroft, our driveway is across from Kiss that Frog

RSVP: Party@StompingGirlWines.com
Please RSVP by February 1

Why Pick Up? If you order wine by February 1, you can pick it up at the party, get 10% off and pay no shipping.  Order wine at stompinggirlwines.com using coupon code “PreRelease” or by calling 707-317-6617.

After much anticipation, we are proud to announce the inaugural release of Stomping Girl Wines.  Our two 2008 Pinot Noirs are so seductive that it is difficult not to keep it all for ourselves! Alas, we are releasing it…

Order Now and Save

Order yours before February 1st and save 10%.  Just put your order in the shopping cart and use the coupon code: PreRelease.

Celebrate with us at our February 6th 2-4 PM Release Party at the winery at 2323 4th St, Berkeley, pick up your wine there and also save on shipping.  Just place your order by February 1st and designate Pick up/Local as your shipping option.

Otherwise,  wine orders will be shipped out on February 1st, weather permitting.

Unique Opportunity

Stomping Girl produces very small lots of handcrafted, artisanal Pinot Noir and 2008 is our first commercial vintage.  Consider this an opportunity to buy some to enjoy now and some to tuck away in your cellar for future special occasions before it’s gone.  After all, there is only one first release of Stomping Girl Pinot Noir.

About a year ago, Uzi wrote about the “chore” of topping off.  Back then we only had 2 half barrels in our home cellar and 4 barrels at the winery to worry about.  This year we have 17 barrels at the winery to stir and top.  While we still don’t see it as a chore, it is a bit more work.  They are stacked two high in the back of the barrel room and special maneuvers are required to properly stir the lees and top off the barrel without overflowing.  But it is still a great opportunity to smell and taste the wine and to, for lack of a better word, touch base with the wine…even while it is resting snugly in the barrel.

So earlier this week at the winery, we sniffed, stirred, topped and tasted all 17 barrels of our 2009 Pinot Noir.  Pinot always seems to be evolving, from the moment of harvest all the way to the last drop in your glass.  But at this point in time, we found that our Carneros Pinot has an incredible nose, our Russian River Pinot already has a luscious mouthfeel and luscious flavors and our Sonoma Coast has nice fruit forward character.  Can’t wait to see what we discover next time…

barrel room

in the barrel room

fermentation bin  

We are increasing production this coming year, 2009, and purchasing some additional equipment–barrel racks, macro bins and barrels.  Uzi found some lightly used barrel racks and macro bins from a contact at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa and made arrangements for me to inspect the equipment in person before purchase.   

My trip to Joseph Phelps reminded me why Napa is such a sought after destination.  Uzi and I tend to visit Sonoma or other wine regions more frequently than Napa.  A drive on Hwy 29 is like a trip down the wine aisle at a large grocery store–Beringer, Mondavi, Sutter Home, Freemark Abbey.  There are countless B&Bs, Auberges, tour buses and gift shops. Despite all that, the scenery this time of year in Napa Valley is spectacular.  The grape vines are lush, full and green.  There are mountains, country lanes and weathered barns amid the vineyards.  And once you get off the beaten path you can find less frequented, more intimate wineries.  

joseph phelps   Napa vineyards

Unfortunately my business in Napa Valley this time did not include wine tasting or luxury accomodations.  I was there to inspect winery equipment–which passed the test–and camp with some friends.  Our big splurge was Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St. Helena where you can enjoy Calera Pinot Noir in a proper glass with your cheeseburger and fries. A fine way by me to enjoy Napa Valley.

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.  

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