Pamo Valley Vineyards

Archives: September 2010

It’s Freakin’ Hot!

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Who picks grapes in this kind of weather anyway???  We’ve set some records in Ramona this weekend as far as heat is concerned, that’s for sure.  Do I dare say we are having a delayed/extended summer? Saturday was 101, Sunday was 105 and today was 108 in our lil’ country town today.  Whoa.  It’s 9:30pm (well past my bed time) and it’s about 85 degrees out.  Not so bad if you have A/C but I’m sitting at my PC with the office window open and a fan blasting on me griping about how hot it is. 🙂  Who me, complain?  Nah.  Not with a glass of Pamo Valley’s 2008 “Passion” in my presence (not yet bottled).  It’s too hot for bed though. We had a great wine weekend.  Friday night we headed to Chinook Vineyards to drop off our trailer and bins for the Saturday early morning pick of Petite Sirah. Elaine and Norm are the BEST hosts. They invited us to stay for happy hour and dinner.  Happy hour consisted of Elaine’s homeade Sangria (never did find out what wine she used) and this really yummy mushroom and brandy patee that she whipped up and those fab costco crackers that I can never find locally. Really yummy.  Then, amongst several of Elaine and Norm’s friends (and soon to be ours) we had a nice, intimate dinner. The menu included lasagna, caesar salad, french bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And Elaine and Norm are very good at serving local wines ALWAYS!  They were serving Hawk Watch, Edwards Vineyards and Pamo Valley wines.  We all had such a great evening, unfortunately the night had to come to end as there was an important day of picking, crushing and entertaining ahead the next morning!….. More weekend updates tomorrow… my wine glass is empty!

Filet Mignon and Tempranillo anyone?

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Tempranillo is the premium red wine grape variety from the Rioja and Ribera del Duero region in Spain. Tempranillo’s aromas and flavors often combine elements of berryish fruit, herbaceousness, and an earthy-leathery minerality. Being low in acidity and sugar content, it is commonly blended with Carignan (Mazuela), Grenache (Garnacha), Graciano, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Last night we had a family bbq after the Merlot crush.  Mike bbq’d ribeye’s and filet mignon. The meat had been marinated all day in garlic, soy and red pepper sauce. With that we had roasted red, yellow and orange bell peppers marinated in sweet  chili sauce.  Also had portobello mushroom halves marinated in extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves and fresh basil.  Since my new flavor of choice in wine lately has been Tempranillo, I took out a 2006 Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Vendimia Seleccionada Crianza.  WTF?  I read Tempranillo on the back so I chose it.  It’s actually a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graiciano grapes grown in Rioja Alta in Spain.  The spicy aromas and berry fruit flavor and velvety finish paired wonderfully with our meal!  I dont’ normally get this excited over food and wine but wow, I was impressed and certainly excited about this pairing!

2010 Merlot

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Well, this one will not be available for tasting until 2012, so please be patient!  We make award winning Merlot from grapes produced by our neighboring friends at Pyramid Winery, Don and Joyce Kohurst.  This was yesterdays pickings and crush.  We’ll see what the 2010 vintage has to offer after this bizarre summer we had.  The brix were nice at 24.5.

Moms favorite job, taking out the unwanted stems, leaves and other debris that get past the crusher!

Mike and Jeff crushing the Merlot

TIP of the day:

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Re: reading brix in your grapes.  Check your refractometer occasionally for calibration.  Pour a drop of distilled water on the lens, hold it up to the sun and it should read zero.  If not, turn the dial (screw) on top until it reads zero. I’ve had mine for 6 years and never knew I had to calibrate it until recently (thank you Don Kohurst!).  I was reading six instead of zero.   All of my grape readings were thru the roof!  I feel better now that things are where they should be now.  Oops!

Before & After

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Jenn and Don Owen, the original "milk man" at Owen's Dairy in Ramona

Don, my Grandma’s 90 y/o boyfriend, surprised at the before and after grape shots!  Here you will see Tempranillo that has been crushed and is nearing the end of fermentation.  2nd, is a fresh picked batch of Syrah from Granny’s vineyard prior to going in for crushing.  This will be a white Syrah.



Pink wine anyone?

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White Syrah Fermenting or as I like to say "cooking"!

Today was a good day.  Mom, Jeff, Grandma, Don and I picked less than half (the 2nd half will be for making a red Syrah) of the Syrah vineyard this morning to begin the making of our very first White Syrah (yes, that’s a rose… or blush… or pink wine).  Everyone in the family likes a blush wine and blush wine is a good seller at local events so I thought, what the heck, we are going to make a pink this year.  And not a dry pink, but a fruity pink.  We got to try out the new crusher/destemmer and the new 180L bladder press = SWEET.  New equipment sure makes life easier. 🙂  I’m thinking this vintage could have something to say about remembering 9/11.  Something to think about anyway.  Hey, right away, on picking grapes from the 3rd plant today, I got stung by a dang bee on the inside of my pinky finger. Not a pleasant start to the day, but I didnt let the bee ruin my day, I stomped on it. Its day/life just ended, mine was just beginning.  I sure love this time of year.  Our first harvest this year, 9/5/10, of Granny’s Tempranillo (that’s my Grandma, Ellie Whitcomb) and Glory Ridge Ranch Tempranillo (Pam, my tax lady and good friend) has almost completed fermentation.  I took Monday off from my day job (let me give a plug to Ramona Self Storage) and Mike doesn’t know it yet, but we are going to press this Tempranillo which I will refer to as G&G Temp.  Tomorrow morning, we will begin harvesting a portion of Tom’s Temp. Yes, another Tempranillo vineyard. Tom lives just down the road from me which is very convenient, it’s all about being local and how much more local can you get than that?  We do a lot of business on Black Canyon & Magnolia Roads!  I’m partaking (as part of the entertainment) in a local 9/11 Town Hall Fundraising Event tonight so I need to rest up and prepare for a busy morning tomorrow!

Granny’s Tempranillo Harvest

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My stepdad Jeff inspecting his pickings

While mom and crew were harvesting Granny’s Tempranillo, Mike and I and his daughter Justine and her boyfriend Josh were harvesting Tempranillo at Glory Ridge Ranch in Ramona.  The timing was perfect.  Both harvesters met back at the winery around 9am for a dual crush.  This will be the G&G Temp!

Bottom of the Tempranillo vineyard looking up to Granny's Vineyard Room (green overhang)

Mom, she just loves this stuff!

My stepbro Jeffrey - 1st time pickin!

Such a pretty blue sky

New Equipment!

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Yea!  Finally the new, long awaited arrival of our new crusher/destemmer and 180L Bladder Press.  These two pieces came from Germany, then to a dock in NY, Concord and then to Riverside CA.  I picked them up today!