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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Kathryn, my lovely wife, sometimes gives me a hard time about the pile of books I have collected over the years that sit by my bed side.  She thinks that rather than buy these books, I should better utilize the libraries we fund so generously here in Berkeley (a topic for another entry) and she decries the sheer numbers of wine books we have.  I need your help.  Am I being unreasonable in my obsessions?  Collecting and reading so many wine books?  Or is this a realistic number of wine books a reasonable wine lover and winemaker would have?

 Adventure on the Wine Route, by Kermit Lynch. This is a tale of Kermit’s travels throughout the wine regions of France in search of the best wine to import. Kermit Lynch, besides being our favorite local wine merchant for the last 25 years, is formidable figure in the wine world.  He is also one of the few Americans to receive France’s highest honor:  the Légion d’honneur. This was in recognition of his influence in bringing about some changes for the better in French wine making. He is also one of the first importers to start shipping wine in refrigerated containers.  Some of his stories are funny and some are sad (buying wine in Burgundy was no picnic 20 years ago.) Once we got turned on to Chevillon’s Nuits St Georges, there was no turning back. A must read.

 Romanee Conti by Richard Olney

What can I say that hasn’t been already said about DRC or Olney?  Just read Olney’s book and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. Olney’s description of the Vendanges alone is well worth the book’s price. The description of the Pinot Noir grapes, the vineyards and the wine making methodologies of the most celebrated domain of Burgundy are pure poetry; the description of the food procession during the harvest, mouthwatering.

The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell

About how a Texan, T.V. Munson, saved the French wine industry, no really! In 1869 France, as well as most of Europe was devastated by the Phyloxra bug.  You see this habit of saving France started way earlier than you think. The book reads as good as any mystery novel.

 Knowing and Making Wine, by Emile Peynaud.   A very technical book that is at times a bit dated, but never the less a superb, thorough enology manual by one of the most renowned wine educator in France.  A classic.

 

I could go on….

Winery Technology and Operations by Yair Margalit

The House of Mondavi by Julia Flynn Siler

The Heartbreak Grape by Marq De Villiers

Techniques in Home Winemaking by Daniel Pambianchi

The Way to Make Wine Nicely written by our neighbor and fellow winemaker Sheridan Warwick

Vineyard Simple How To Build And Maintain Your Own Small Vineyard by Tom Powers

The Grape Grower by Lon Rombough

Pacific Pinot Noir by John Winthrop Haeger

 

What’s your vote?  Overboard or reasonable?  Any titles I have forgotten that you recommend?  Please feel free to comment.

Punching the cap on our home-crafted wine is a piece of cake.  My 9 year old daughter handles it on her own, no problem. Even at age 7 she could do the punch downs in our own cellar where everything is done on a very small scale.  In fact, I would say our cellar is essentially a nano-scaled cellar compared to most licensed wineries.

The punch downs occurring on our Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir right now, for example, are done on a larger scale.  Instead of the garbage can-sized containers we use at home, at the winery we are working with garbage dumpster-sized containers.  Hmmm…I can tell you right now that Uzi will not be happy with my non-technical (not to mention non-appetizing analogies here.)

Anyway, the cap is several inches thick and requires so much pressure to punch through it you cannot imagine.  Some people make it look easy, but it is anything but.  Uzi is working on a more instructional video of punching the cap.  In the meantime, here is a less instructional video of me working hard at it.

Kudos to all the cellar rats doing this grunt work.

~Kathryn

 

We started making wine in 2003 in the crawl space below our 1916 craftsman.  Down below there was an area about 7×7 where if you bowed your head just so you could sort of stand, the rest was literally crawl space.  Crawl space and carboys.  This is home wine making at it’s best.  

cellar before

cellar before

Thank god we had people little enough to stand in there and do the work.

They pressed….

small people to do the work

small people at work

 

 

 

 

 

And they pressed…

more little people

more little people

…till we got smart and moved it outside.

still hunching

Ben at the press

…but still we hunched. (continued)