Pamo Valley Vineyards

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Our second visit was to Galleano Winery. This was our first time to this winery and we all really enjoyed it.  This is what you call a historic winery! The land to plant the grapes was purchased in 1927.  Their grapes are grown and harvested in the Rancho Cucamonga Valley.  I could not get over how affordably priced these wines were.  I loved the historic ambiance (hence all the pictures). The tasting room was tiny and the lights were dimmed.  I’d say it was about a 150 sq ft or a little more.  They had a neat window over looking the vineyards.  It was just so quant. One of my gripes about San Antonio Winery was that they served their tastings in paper dixie cups.  They said with the holiday’s they were quite busy and that was the reason for this. Still.  Anyhow, Galleano had these little glasses similar to candle votives which I thought was pretty neat and I may use that idea in our tasting room! You could tell there was alot of family history at this winery with many of the family serving tastes and talking about the winery from behind the bar. Another standout was how they sold 1 gallon jugs of wine.  This was very Italian to me, and I thought it was a classic.  Also, the wine tasting was free. You dont find that too much anymore.  I tasted the Riesling and a white blend named Candlelight White. Both very nice although the latter a little too sweet for my liking.  I also had to try the most expensive wine on the list which was $40/bottle (average price at most wineries!) and that was their Claret, a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet and Merlot.  Quite delightful, a big, bold wine for those looking for a punch!  On the softer side, I really enjoyed there Chianti with a residual sugar of 1.5%.  This winery was selling alot wine!  Customers were walking out with cases! I can see why given they are so good and affordable.  Lastly, an elder gentleman and his wife said, “forget the wine”, “you have got to try the three generations port”!  This was not on the tasting menu but the gentleman behind the bar was glad to give me a taste.  I thought it was quite nice, more on the brandy side.  I wish I could give more of a description but it wasnt listed on their menu and I’ve even gone to the website to try to find it but their site is “Under Construction”.  Regardless, this is definitely a winery I’d recommend anyone in the area to visit!

2010 Best Winery!

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Pamo Valley Winery won the Best Winery 2010 from Ramona Sentinel’s readers poll!  See our ad in the November 18, 2010 edition of the Ramona Sentinel newspaper!  Thank you for voting us Best Winery in 2008 and 2010!  We look forward to sharing our wines with you next year when we open our doors to the public!

Mahogany Mountain Opens Tasting Room!

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The first tasting room to open in the Ramona Valley in the last FIFTEEN YEARS opens its doors for business! Our friends, Mike and Kim Hargett of Mahogany Mountain Vineyards & Winery will open Saturday, November 13th and Sunday, November 14th and every weekend thereafter from 11:00am – 5:00pm.  Stop by and pay them a visit and try what Ramona Valley has to offer!  We encourage you to tell your friends, who will tell their friends and eventually the Ramona Wine Community will grow as a whole.  Visit Mahgoanys blogpost for more exciting information and pictures of their grand opening:

Mahogany Mountain Vineyard and Winery

14905 Mussey Grade Road

Ramona, CA 92065


Harvest – Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

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Today we picked our estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.  Once again, of course, it decided to rain (well, mist).  We took a refractometer reading prior to the rain/mist setting in.  The grapes have been on the vine for a while and were due to be picked anytime.  There was some raisin settling in and the seeds were nice and brown.  The brix came in at 24 from the reading.  We were halfway into the pick when we thought it probably wasnt a good idea to be harvesting with the wet weather. You see, we had this happen to us once before in August of 2007 with our estate Syrah vineyard on Burma Rd. Although all signs of ripeness were positive and the Brix tested at 26 the day before harvest, a freak down pour in the specific area of the vineyard the night before, and all during the picking, lowered the Brix to around 23 (unfortunately we didn’t test that morning), and generally decreased the flavors of the grapes.  So… what I did tonight was I let the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 sit in the bins over night in the cool garage instead of crushing them right away.  Tomorrow afternoon we will crush the grapes, hoping that all the “water off a duck’s back” has settled to the bottom and we wont be affected by the rain. Finger’s crossed!  I’ll report the brix reading, I’m anxious to find out. I would be really pleased with 25!

Whatsup With This Weather?

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So after my last post, we’ve had nothing but cool, misty and even rainy weather. Complete with massive thunder and lightening storms.  BIZARRE. Really cool though, except for the drama it’s putting the grapes through.  On Sept 30th, we had a team picking Zinfandel at Chinook Cellars.  Thought since we’d be out of town that weekend we could sneak in early Thursday and get the job done.  Of course, out of no where, it rained.  It’s okay though. The grapes came in at 22 brix which we are happy with.  I’m really excited to make wine from Norm and Elaine’s Chinook Vineyard this year.  They take great pride in their vineyard and I know we will have great results from the wine!

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.