We are in the right business this time of year because no other wine goes better with turkey and savory side dishes than Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  While our Chard is not ready for release (darn!,) our award-winning Pinot can grace your Thanksgiving table this year:

  • Our elegant Silver Medal winner 2010 Russian River, which is almost sold out, will complement the heck out of the turkey.
  • Our 2009 Corona Creek will stand up to the hearty mouth watering sausage-stuffed mushrooms we recommend below.
  • Our versatile, well-balanced Silver Medal winner (and excellent price/quality ratio per Prince of Pinot) 2010 Unhinged is perfectly suitable for dinner but also an excellent casual partner for next day turkey and stuffing sandwiches.

A couple of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

In regions where there is plenty of sunlight, fertile soil and irrigation, grapevines can end up producing too much fruit.  This is the case in many winegrowing regions in California.  In response, we typically remove a percentage of the clusters around this time of year–after they are fully formed but long before they are ripe.  Removing a portion of these immature clusters allows the vine to put all of its energy into the remaining clusters and leads to a more even ripening process and improved flavor compounds.

Removing fruit may seem detrimental since it decreases our yield and, ultimately, the amount of wine produced.  However, our intention is better quality wine, not more wine.  Green harvest allows us to achieve better quality wine by creating balanced vines with the right cluster-to-canopy-size ratio and more evenly ripened clusters at harvest.

Below are some recent pictures of a walk through dropping fruit, when veraison (the turning of the grapes from green to red) is 20-30% complete.  All but 2 clusters are removed from shoots that have extended beyond the top wire, all but 1 cluster are removed from shoots that extend below the top wire and all the clusters are removed from shoots that are too short to reach the middle wire.   When veraison is done, we do a second round and drop all the clusters that did not ripen properly so that we end up with an evenly ripened crop.

Pinot veraison

dropping fruit

It’s been a long, cool growing season and harvest is still maybe 2 weeks 1 week ?? away.  Yields look small but with the long hang time, complex flavors are developing in there.  And it’s always a pleasure to walk Steve’s vineyard with him.

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All of our recently released 2009 Stomping Girl Pinot Noirs medaled out of over 5000 wines entered in the latest San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  Woot!  Here’s the breakdown:

2009 Stomping Girl Lauterbach Hill, Russian River Valley, Silver Medal

2009 Stomping Girl Corona Creek, Sonoma Coast, Bronze Medal

2009 Stomping Girl Beresini Vineyard, Carneros, Bronze Medal

We released our 2009 Pinots before the holidays this year for you to enjoy at the holiday dinner table and to be able to give as a gift.  They are young but very drinkable now, if you don’t want to wait.  If you happen to drink them side by side, here’s the order in which we recommend you enjoy them:

1) Lauterbach Hill, RRV–a delicate, lighter-bodied, food-friendly Pinot that pleases the palate with bright cherry and strawberry notes

2) Beresini Vineyard, Carneros–an elegant, medium-bodied, deep garnet-colored Pinot perfumed with cherry and a bit of spice

3) Corona Creek, Sonoma Coast–a fuller-bodied Pinot displaying darker fruit and a hint of roasting coffee and chocolate

Drink now or put in the cellar to enjoy a few years down the road.

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.