Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Deux Punx

2009 was a great year for us. We went from 75 to 112 cases, made our first white wine, found a great place and person to help make our wines, met a ton of great people and continue to have fun.

2010 is going to bring big changes for Deux Punx. Right now we are filling out our paper work to make everything legal, ordering a years worth of corks, coordinating cork and label art, getting quotes on labels, trying to find 25 cases of clear burgundy bottles and planning what wines to make in 2010.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Deux Punx!

Guntly Road may not seem significant to many (or any) of you but it is quite possibly the spot that started this whole thing. Without the promise of grapes on Guntly Road Deux Punx would most likely not have come to be.

As I am thankful for all of the random moments that have led to the life I currently lead I am thankful for the circuitous path that led to deux punx and the great friendship and partnership that has formed on this long and winey road. And, dear deux punx reader, I am thankful for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Roussanne Update

2009 roussanne

the roussanne is finished with primary fermentation. the wine stayed very cloudy after racking and there was a nervous feeling that we had made an orangish/brown nightmare of a wine. to our amazement the wine in our tank has cleared up nicely and is tasting greatd. it has a lot of weight to it and the pineapple-bomb of a nose has dropped out.

clear and golden

we've racked off the gross lees and now it's just resting and picking up some texture from the fine lees. aaron demonstrates how to use a dewalt drill to mix things up a bit. we plan to rack off the fine lees in a few more weeks. hopefully bottle in early 2010.

quick movie on lees stirring

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Book your own f*cking AVA

We've gotten a lot of questions about where we get our grapes from and usually the answer of The Fruitland Ridge in Southern Humboldt ("you know right above the Avenue of the Giants") brings raised eyebrows and jokes about Humboldt's #1 cash crop.

So I thought I'd take a few minutes to list the reasons for our love of the fruit from Elk Prairie Vineyards, Fruitland Ridge, Humboldt County, CA.

1) Alan Estrada - In a lean year that seemed destined for heartache and what could have beens Alan offered to sell us fruit that was already being fought over because he dug our blog and where we were coming from. Bonus for the fact that he refers to us as "the punks" and sends me Devo videos!

2) The fruit - The fruit is absolutely outstanding. There is a lot of talk about the typicity of place and this has it and then some. From the first whiff of the nose you can smell Elk Prairie and the fruit itself has a mix of french bramble and CA fruit that you just don't taste in other pinot growing regions.

3) Humboldt County Pinot Noir - Even we were a little uncertain about the potential of Pinot from Humboldt until we tasted the 2002 Woodenhead Pinot from Elk Prairie. This was an epiphany wine for both of us it signified just how good wine from this fruit could be. There is finite amount of vineyard land on The Fruitland Ridge and it produces some grapes that insiders know stand up to many of the more "prestigious" pinot growing regions in CA and OR.

4) The Vines - Unlike almost everywhere in Europe or North America the vines in Humboldt are on Native Root Stocks. In the 19th century Phylloxera (which was introduced to Europe by Phylloxera resistant American grape vines) almost completely desimated the European wine industry, and then relatively new American wine industry for that matter. The final solution for dealing with Phylloxera was to graft European vines on to American root stocks. To this day, shy of select wine growing regions in the Southern Hemisphere, almost all vines are grafted. The Fruitland ridge vines are not grafted and though possibly academic are very unique in being Pinot from roots to shoots.

5) Making great wine without an AVA - The AVA system, though useful in showing a focus towards and gift for growing certain types of grapes in certain regions, has become to some extent an overused marketing and pricing tool. There is no real "policing" of quality or typicity or even the types of grapes that are grown within an AVA shy of dollars themselves. This creates artificial prestige valuations of wines instead of valuations based on quality. Fortunately you do have a large number of grape growers and wine makers that are interested in producing quality wines that reflect a regional quality. You also have artificial pricing of land and grapes that are solely based on County lines and drawn in barriers (that can be grown or shrunk to suite) to keep this pricing. Producing high quality grapes and wine outside of the AVA process means you need to let your wines stand up for themselves and you need to find customers who see this quality as a good thing and seek out the lesser known and harder to find; wines with their own story to tell. Don't get me wrong - we looooove a good Russian River Pinot and look forward to adding some of that fruit to our 2010 efforts but we also see the value in reaching outside of these areas and seeing what honest sweat equity and great fruit can achieve in some of the lesser known wine producing areas of our state.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Everything's Coming up Rosé

Summer 2010 is a ways off; however, we are preparing now by making a rosé. It will be a Grenache based wine from the Tejeda Vineyards. Check out their Big T if you want a killer Tempranillo. More soon.

Grenache Fruit

Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 Pinot Video

one correction on the video - the lower portion of the vineyard is Martini, the upper, flatter portion is made up of Pommard and Dijon clones.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching up while the grapes rest

while the '09 syrah is resting easy (well hopefully slowly kicking off malo) in the barrel up in OLYWA and the roussanne is bubbling away in a cool tank in the garage we set off to pick up this year's pinot grapes from Alan at Elk Prairie.

But before jumping into the bin of cold soaking pinot grapes let's catch up on the previous adventures.

'09 Syrah

This year the syrah came in more than a month earlier than last year's incredibly late end of October pick date. On the 21st of Sept we drove the f150 out to Gilbert Vineyards on the Wahluke Slope to pick up what turned out to be some incredibly clean (and tasty) fruit.

We had a small but highly skilled sorting and crushing crew in Oly this year and managed to sort in a record 2 hours followed by another hour or two on the rickety old manual crusher/destemmer rented from a facility known more for beer making and hydrophonics than winemaking (winemaking is like 5 fiddle out of 3).

After the whirlwind we hustled back down to the bay to wrap up the work week.
And two days later I flew back to press and get this stuff in the barrel.

easy peasy!

'09 Roussanne

Next up is our first dip into the white wine world. If you recall from the bad trannies post a few months back we'd picked up a stainless tank just for this purpose.

Dan stayed in SF for the Roussanne pickup giving our Marketing department (Brian) the chance to jump into the romantic world of waking up really f'in early to drive to some remote CA location and buy grapes only to load up the truck and drive back.
Dark and early in the AM
The drive to plymouth
Charlie Havill and son at BellaGrace Vineyards
Nice looking Roussanne fruit
Two of our bins loaded up and weighed for travel
back to the city

After getting the fruit back into the city we started our virgin run at the white process:

cold soak


ferment cool

age in tank
Currently the roussanne is at about 60f and at around 4 brix. We're looking forward to racking off the lees and letting the relatively short tank aging begin. We'll have pix of the rest of this process shortly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Great Harvest, Clean Sort and a Quick Crush

The 2311 pounds of 2009 Pinot Noir are sitting cold on dry ice tonight. Everything went great. A detailed post will be here shortly (after we get some sleep).

Special thanks to BT for the truck, Eric for letting us use his space and Alan for the great grapes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You are Hired to Work at a Real Napa Winery!

We are sorting our 2009 North Coast Pinot Noir this Sunday (10/11) in the beautiful city of Napa. Please come out and help us. 9am to noon. 918 Enterprise Way Unit G. Email if you can make it.

Max and Calvin thank you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Syrah 2009 Harvest

2009 wahluke slope syrah harvest.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All Hands on Deck (Monday Syrah Sort)

help the deux punx out this monday in olympia, washington. sort should start around 1pm. aaron's dad's house. food, wine, labor, fun and more labor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Look at 2009 Pinot Fruit

here is a picture alan sent us today of his vineyard. insane! can't wait to get up there and taste.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

helping out

i was lucky enough to be on family vacation in occidental when the russian river pinot harvest started for 2009. our buddy alan baker invited me to the FIRST estate harvest at arista. what an experience! to see the McWilliams family gathered to see the first fruits of their labor was very inspiring. the fruit was amazing! clean, small clusters and delicious. classic RRV pinot. the family and crew paraded the fruit down west side road to moshin for crushing. despite a few hiccups, including 2 bins falling off the truck, the sort and crush went great.

7am at arista

the haul

the next day was spent helping alan and serena sorting their equally beautiful floodgate pinot fruit. 4-tons was sorted in 20% of the time it took us to sort 1-ton of our fruit last year. it was very cool to see these two going for it!

Italicthe sorting on deck circle

many contacts were made, technical advise given and stories told. hopefully next year we can be a bit more involved in this region. time will tell. there is definitely something to be said about lending a hand to friends when it comes to wine making (hint hint).

rrv pinot

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bottling the '08 Humboldt County Pinot Noir

The first deux punx collaboration is in the bottle!!! This started with an email asking about joining forces on an Anderson Valley pinot project and 18 months, 85 blog posts, a couple dozen unforeseen obstacles, devastating frosts, many cases of wine (consumed for nerves), bars from NYC to Garberville, CA, a crashed birthday party in a Jersey City Bar, numerous underwhelming wine events, much to much plotting, planning and dreaming and much moral and sweat equity support from family and friends we are finally in the bottle and able to... continue planning for doing it all over again!!!

So the bottling process all started with deciding on a blend. We have both a new and a neutral barrel each of which brings their own thing to the table. A party of 5 of us agreed (well 4 out of 5) on a blend of 53% new and 47% neutral oak.

The notebook capturing the blend
The cases of bottles waiting to be filled

the setup - barrels and the tank we used for blending and bottling from
defending the blend at it's most vulnerable

The first into the tank was the new barrel

using gravity to measure the tank volume we'd taped levels on the side of the tank
Dan fills the very last of the bottles
in the process of filling we're also tasting, and tasting, and tasting and...

The bottles lined up for waxing

bottling and corking
most of all winemaking is cleaning, cleaning, cleaning

And the finished product!!!

On top of bottling the majority of the wine we're also experimenting with corney kegs and kleen kanteens - keeping the wine sitting under argon and assessing how it ages in the kegs. What does storage under argon do to the flavor of the wine, what does it do to the nose? The hope is that, at least in the relative near-term, it is relatively identical to the wine under cork.

What's next you ask??

A garage Roussanne?
Moving the Pinot to a bonded winery in Napa?
Getting our wholesale license for 2010?
hustling to actually get our 2010 (still on the vine) into some of our favorite restaurants and stores?
Another year of WA Syrah?


But next up we've got some labels to complete!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're Knots

Sailors have nothing on the Deux Punx. Here is a small sampling of our unique knot skills:

the olson twist (aka the wtf)...

the schaaf twister (aka the tangler)

the web (aka the chaos knot)

the life saving noose

the wicked web (aka we suck at knots)