Beresini Pinot Aug 28

As harvest approaches, we are taking twice weekly Brix measurements of Bersini vineyard in Carneros–typically, our first vineyard picked.  On August 28, it was at 20.2 Brix.  On September 5, 21.4.  We picked on September 14 last year but due to the general coolness of this summer, the vineyard is about 1 degree and 1 week behind where it was last year at this time.   While the warm weather we’ve had these last two weeks might speed things up a bit, it is still hard to tell.

Last year, Beresini had a smaller than expected yield from our rows and it looks like we may find ourselves in the same situation again this year.  Smaller yields typically mean better, more intensely flavored wines…but it also means less of it.

We popped in on Beresini Vineyard and Corona Creek Vineyard in late June to check on the fruit.  Here they are:

Beresini vineyard (first photo) is in Carneros.  The berries are a little farther developed than those in Corona Creek (2nd photo) located in Sonoma Coast.  In 2009, we harvested Beresini over 2 weeks before Corona Creek.

We also stopped at the Fremont Diner in Carneros, just down the road from Beresini, for some down home cooking.  The big yellow square in the photo is butter, right behind it is a pig’s leg. Definitely not the place to go if you’re on a diet.

bottles, capsules and cork samples

bottles, capsules and cork samples

Winemaking is not always about making wine.  There are always less glamorous tasks to be done, like packaging, which we are working on now. Later this summer we will bottle our 2009 vintage and we are lining up packaging details now. This means decisions have to be made on what size, color and nationality the bottle will be. We must choose what type of cork to use and if our logo will be branded on it. Then there is the capsule–what material, color, size do we want? Logo or no logo?  And last, but not least, we must update our label for the 3 different vineyards 2009.

Under my radar, downstairs, Uzi has been busy mixing and matching different colored capsules with various styles of bottles with our 2008 label slapped on to get a visual of what we want to end up with.

During his mix and match process, Uzi put a filled bottle with our 2008 Stomping Girl label, a red capsule and a Stomping Girl branded cork in it on our kitchen counter for me to see.  In an ironic twist of fate, later that same day a sommelier/wine director from a very well-known restaurant coincidentally paid me a surprise visit on an unrelated matter (we were working together on a project for our kids’ school.) He knows we make wine and spontaneously asked if he could try it.  I obliged, of course, after all there was the bottle of it right there in front of us on the counter. Had I followed rule #1 of pouring your wine to trade, I would have tasted it, and I would have known that it was not the 2008 Stomping Girl Lone Oak Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands that was clearly indicated on the label and that I portrayed it to be.

The gentleman gave it a sniff and a whirl.  His feedback was brief as he was in a hurry. He observed cranberries on the nose and the palette and then had to run to an appointment. Cranberries???  I should have known something was up at that point.  Our Lone Oak definitely does not invoke cranberries.  It has a much darker red fruit component.

That night I discovered the wine that had been on the counter, that I had poured for our new friend was not what I thought it was.  Aack!  I had been waiting weeks for the perfect opportunity to pour our wine for this man and I blew it!  How was I to know that a bottle labeled 2008 Stomping Girl Lone Oak Pinot Noir was in fact a bottle of our 2007 basement Pinot? Still a perfectly drinkable Pinot but not our Stomping Girl that retails for $38.

Luckily, we had a nice chuckle over it later and I promised to pour the real Stomping Girl for him next time.  Wonder if he’ll believe me?

passover dinnerYou may be familiar with our story and the inspiration for our name–Stomping Girl–and already know this:  Uzi’s Grandmother Esther grew grapes on their property, his sister Michal took off her shoes and stomped them and Esther turned the grapes into wine.  The wine was primarily for their Passover celebration each year.

Officially, kosher wine is served for Passover.  For a wine to be kosher, there are many rules that must be followed, such as:

  1. The vines on which the grapes are grown must be at least 4 years old and left unharvested every seventh year.
  2. Only kosher, non-animal ingredients may go into the wine (i.e., only certain yeasts may be used and egg white, a common fining ingredient, may not be used.)
  3. Only male, Sabbath-observant Jews are allowed to handle the wine through the entire winemaking process from the harvesting of the grapes, through fermentation, to bottling.
  4. One Percent of the wine must be discarded.
  5. Barrels must cleaned 3 times before use.

The Cohen family Passover wine enjoyed by them every year in Israel was not officially kosher, being that Esther and Michal handled the grapes and the wine.  But it was close enough for Grandmother Esther.

For us here in California, the # 1 rule for Passover wine is that it must taste great.  After all, you are supposed to drink four glass of it every night.  And, though not Sabbath observant, our chief winemaker is Jewish and from Israel…and that makes Stomping Girl Wine pretty close to being kosher.  Passover starts next week, and I bet you know what wine we’ll be serving.

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!

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