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!

It seems like we have been raving about our own wine for a while now but since it has been officially released it is nice to receive feedback from others validating our own opinions.

Our first official review came from the PinotFile Newsletter where our wine was reviewed alongside some formidable contenders.  He said this of Stomping Girl Pinot Noir:

Split Rock, Sonoma Coast–“Shy aromatics with hints of black cherries, spice and warm cookies. Nicely weighted cherry and strawberry fruits carry over to a pleasant finish of moderate length. Doesn’t have the firm tannins often found in Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. I admire this wine for its balance and finesse.”

And popular wine bloggers Brix Chicks had this to say about Stomping Girl Lone Oak, Santa Lucia Highlands, Pinot Noir:

“Yum!  This Pinot has the delightful nose coaxed from the tasty fruit of the warm, yet breezy Santa Lucia Highland area. I got a lot of ripe fruit in the aromas…lovely well balanced acidity…”

2008 Stomping Girl Pinot Noir

Other, less official but much more important, accolades are coming in from our customers and friends:

“What a beautiful and inviting blend of ripe red fruit and earthy characteristics like mushroom.  It was very well structured with pretty acidity and a lingering finish.” -DH

“The wine was fantastic, I especially like the hint of Cola.” -Brandon

“The wine is truly outstanding…” -Sheridan

“Delicious….” -Heather

“Excellent!” -Ramona

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.

Our maiden commercial vintage has been bottled.  I know the age of some our laborers looks a little young but I seriously could not pull them away.  I barely had a chance to get my own hands in there!  Look for this wine to be released in early November!

tasting and blending the Pinot clones

tasting and blending the Pinot clones

For the winemaker, this time of year is not only about preparing the winery for harvest but also about making blending and bottling decisions for the previous vintage.  Friday we had the pleasure of evaluating the progress of our 2008 Lone Oak and Split Rock Pinot Noir.  We compared the influences of the different barrels (new oak vs. neutral oak) and different clones that go into each.  We blended different ratios of new oak to neutral oak and different clonal combinations (more on clones) to bring out the aromas, flavors and complexity we are looking for.

We swirled, sniffed, tasted, gargled and spit our way through the morning.  Our consulting winemaker is extremely knowledgeable of the different Pinot Noir clones and helped guide us as we blended, tasted and tweaked glass after glass.  

In general, we strive for well-balanced, food-friendly wines that express the fruit and floral notes typical of the varietal and the vineyard from which it comes.  Combining different Pinot Noir clones from the same vineyard brings complexity and intrigue to the wine.  Certain clones help provide incredible aromatics, some lend a note of creaminess while others provide structure. When tasted side by side, it became evident to me that a single clone, in contrast to a blend, can appear one dimensional.  Creating the right blend, though hard work ;), was a great learning experience and critical to creating an exceptional wine.  

In addition, we also made some bottling decisions.  We will bottle the Lone Oak this month.  The Split Rock we will hold in barrel until after the 2009 harvest is complete and bottle in November.  Stay tuned for their release soon after that.

blending Pinot trials and tribulations

blending Pinot trials and tribulations

Copyrights to photos are taken seriously on the internet.  I was contacted yesterday by a woman from The Guardian, the UK Guardian (the second phone call Stomping Girl Wines has received from a journalist in the last 2 weeks, by the way.)  She was doing an article on baby doll sheep use in vineyards and needed a photo.  She must have googled “baby doll sheep vineyard” images and saw my old post with photos of exactly that–baby doll sheep in the vineyard.  She had contacted me to ask permission to use the photo.  She even said they would send a small payment if it was used.  

Excited to share my photos, I sent her some beautiful photos of baby doll sheep in Navarro’s vineyard and a photo of one of our Sonoma Coast growers’ Icelandic sheep (#5) which is used in his vineyard.  Later that day I found the article on their website.  My photo did not appear in the article but somehow I still got a photo credit at the bottom of the article.  I’ll take what I can get!

Note: almost all of the photos we use on our blog and website are taken by Uzi or I. Including the beautiful banner above taken by Uzi in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Stomping Girl Barrel Tasting (click for slideshow)

Stomping Girl Wines had a great turn out for our first barrel tasting event featuring our ’08 Pinot Noirs–Lone Oak Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands and Split Rock, Sonoma Coast.  The wines are developing fantastically with cherry and spice flavors coming through and nicely balanced on the  palette.  We also pulled a barrel sample of our ’08 Las Brisas, Carneros, Pinot–it’s displaying nice cherry fruit flavors and a silky, velvety texture in the mouth.

Thanks to those who came, we had a great time.  And thank you to Maureen Sullivan for taking the photos!  Here is one review of the event.

Last Saturday, our friend grower/owner of Sonatera Vineyards, Debbie Friedenberg, told us about Siduri’s  annual holiday open house in Santa Rosa.  Siduri is a producer of multiple highly acclaimed, single vineyard designate Pinot Noirs. Adam and Dianna Lee, the owners of Siduri, are an inspiration to a lot of up- and-coming boutique wineries, such as ours.

The wines came from (in geographical order) Sonoma Mountain’s Van Der Kamp, Amber Ridge, Hirsh Vineyard, Sonatera, Sonoma Coast, all the way down to Santa Lucia Highland’s Pisoni. Impressively, many of the tables were staffed by the vineyard growers themselves, such as Sonatera and Van Der Kamp.  This gave us an opportunity to ask detailed questions about the vineyards and find out what makes them unique.

The wines were all outstanding with the vineyard and appellation differences clearly coming thru in the wines.  Unfortunately we had to rush through the tasting as we had only an hour to spare but it was a great opportunity to try Pinot from some of the best vineyards of California (and one from Oregon) side by side.

I was thrilled when Dianna Lee, dressed in black with a royal tiara on her head due to the theme of the open house, took me on a private tour of the barrel room for a barrel tasting of the 2008s.  First, we chatted a bit about our respective kids.  It is hard to believe Dianna and Adam are raising three young kids while running such a phenomenal winery.  Then we talked a bit about the wines we make and started tasting her 08s. First was the 08 Sonatera (Debbie Friedenberg and Marne Coggan’s  vineyard.) Although it is just three months old, a baby wine that just finished Malo, it is already off to a great start with great aroma, color and fantastic mouth feel and flavors. Not a surprise, given that the 07 single vineyard Sonatera we tasted on the floor was our favorite.

Since I also make Santa Lucia Highlands, Dianna was very kind to let me try a couple of the Santa Lucia Highland barrels from Garry’s and Pisoni’s vineyards. Now we have a reference point for greatness.

It was very gracious of Debbie to introduce me to Dianna and for them to spend some time with me during the hectic open house. Thank you to you both!

Next time you are near Santa Rosa, give Siduri a call to schedule a visit, you will not regret it, especially if you are a Pinot fan (or a Dallas Cowboys fan as you will appreciate the Wine Tank names.)