turkey

Berkeley turkey

Everyone this time of year seems to be either writing or wondering about what wine goes with turkey.  Personally, we always serve three types of wine for Thanksgiving at our house — a bottle of bubbly, a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir.  We open the sparkling wine to drink with appetizers while the turkey finishes in the oven.  Then the Chardonnay (which goes well with traditional side dishes such as sweet potatoes) and the Pinot (which goes well with turkey) are opened and served with dinner.   But you can find articles in the Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, SFGate, etc., to tell you what wines to serve at the Thanksgiving table.

What I want to tell you about is what went really well with Uzi’s famous spit-roasted pork loin seasoned with rosemary and garlic the other night–Pinot Noir.  We opened a special bottle of premier cru Chambolle Musigny to go with it.  And just to gauge our winemaking expertise against this Burgundy benchmark, we also opened a bottle of our 2007 garagiste Carneros Pinot Noir.   Though they are very different wines and I almost hesitate to mention the two together in the same breath, they were both fantastic and both went splendidly with the pork.

So go cook one of these later this week when you’re tired of turkey and open up a bottle of Pinot Noir.  And next year, when you’re planning your Thanksgiving dinner, consider a 2008 Stomping Girl Pinot Noir to go with the turkey.

Pork roast and Pinot

Pork roast and Pinot

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If Uzi had his way, he would check in on “our” vineyards at least once a week.  And, actually, as the harvest gets closer he would be there everyday. While he is not able to go that frequently, the 5 of us did pile in the car Father’s Day weekend and drive up for a visit.  I think he likes to see the 2 guys who own the vineyards almost as much as he likes to check on the grapes.  And after meeting them for the first time, I can see why.  Chris Ritcey (Corona Creek Vineyard, Sonoma Coast) and Steve Beresini (Beresini Vineyard, Carneros) are providing us with grapes this year.  Each took our family on a private tour of their vineyards and resident farm animals. Both of them are super nice and down to earth.  

First stop:  Corona Creek vineyard, Sonoma Coast.  Chris Ritcey first led our kids down to see his sheep and feed them. One sheep, endearingly named #5, took a liking to us and the bucket of feed Chris gave us.  Then he took us on a tour of the vineyard and gave us a short lesson on the ripening of the grapes.

kids and #5

kids and #5

Chris and Uzi

Uzi and Chris

Chris in Sonoma Coast vineyard

Chris

Next we headed east to Carneros.  After a quick stop for brunch at the Boon Fly Cafe at the Carneros Inn (yummy housemade doughnuts,) we crossed the street to Beresini vineyard.  Steve came out to greet us, led us into the vineyard and immediately starting clipping the small, unwanted suckers he came across.  As Uzi has written before, Steve is always making wine in the vineyard.

Steve Beresini making wine

Steve Beresini "making wine"

carneros Pinot grapes

Beresini pinot 6/09

The berries in Carneros were a little bigger than the Sonoma Coast berries.  That may be an indicator they will be ready for harvest earlier or it may just be the clone.  Either way, the countdown has begun.  90 days (+/-) to harvest and counting…

 

Beresini Vineyard

Beresini Vineyard

We are very happy to announce the addition of Steve Beresini Carneros vineyard to our 2009 lineup.

Steve has a meticulously maintained small vineyard in Carneros that has been producing world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for many years by the likes of wineries such as MacRostie.  The vineyard was planted in 1989 making it one of the more mature Pinot vineyards around, even by Carneros standards.  Low yield and careful management of the vines produces superb wine. When Steve called to say he might have some fruit available for me I had to drive right over and see it. 

Stomping Girl will have three rows dedicated to us, two of the Pommard clone and one of the Calera clone. These 3 rows will give us only a tiny amount–maybe four barrels of wine.  And that is fine by us because we choose to produce small lots from grapes carefully grown by small family-owned vineyards.

Steve, who has been growing vines and making wine for more than thirty years, takes excellent care of his vineyard. He was the winemaker at one point at Niebaum-Coppola Winery and worked alongside the legendary André Tchelistchef, who consulted with Neibaum-Copola at the time.

While tasting his 2008 from the barrel, all Calera clone, we talked about his winemaking protocol. I tried to learn his winemaking secrets, what makes his wine so luscious and round, so aromatic and bright cherry red. He got a distant look on his face and reminisced about Andre, a mentor to him.  Then he said, “It’s really simple, it’s all starts in the vineyard, so when I walk around the vines and I’m suckering and pruning, I say to myself, ‘I am just walking around, making wine.'”

We are lucky to have this extra winemaker in the vineyard.Steve Beresini and his vineyard

Steve Beresini and his vineyard