Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deux Punx Top 10 Wines of 2010

We love making Top 10 lists. Here are some of the wines we enjoyed over the past year:

1. 2009 Arnot-Roberts Ribolla Gialla, Napa Valley

2. Andrea Calek "Blonde 009" Vin de France (methode ancestrale)

3. 2004 Meyer Family Cellars Syrah, Mendocino County

4. 2008 Alta Maria Vineyards Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley

5. 2009 NPA Sauvignon Blanc, (Kanteened)

6. 2009 Folk Machine Valdiguié, Redwood Valley

7. 2009 Sans Liege Marsanne, “Sancha”, Raso Robles

8. 2009 Dache Grenache Les E'nfant Terrible, Dry Creek Valley

9. 2007 Woodenhead Pinot Noir, Buena Tierra Vineyard, Russian River Valley

10. 2000 Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne

11. 2008 Field Recordings "Chorus Effect" Koligian Vineyard, Central Coast

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Humboldt Pinot Harvest

It was a roller coaster of a growing year all over CA in 2010. Somehow we were able to get fruit from our favorite vineyard, Elk Prairie. Here is a quick video, some images and a Wipers song.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

2010 Grenache Crush

quick video from yesterday's crush. low vineyard yield equals our production getting cut in half. first native fermentation at new winery; wish it luck. more information soon.

tejada vineyard 2010 grenache

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sonoma Holiday

Some times you need to get out of town and chill out. The Schaaf family hit the road for the 4th of July / Dan's birthday and ended up in the Bohemian hamlet of Occidental. Where is Occidental you ask? It's a hidden gem just outside the Russian River and Green Valley AVAs, about 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean and elevation 1500ft. In other words, Pinot Country.


Our vacation home was on a small country road that turns dirt and makes it's way to Jenner (bikes and foot only). We noticed a few choice small Pinot vineyards on our street and did some investigation into who owned them and who it making juice with them.

Occientally the 4th

While visiting family in Santa Rosa we made a trek over to Kevin Kelley's Natural Process Alliance compound. VERY COOL and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Greeted by the social media cult start Hardy Wallace (aka @dirtysouthwines), we got a rundown of the operation and tasted the 4 wines NPA has to offer. The Sauv Blanc and Rhone field blend went home with us in trusty Kleen Kanteens. Their distribution system is a bit fuzzy and limited but I think it's only going to grow and grow. I also think we'll see copycats and poor imitators as time goes on. Maybe one day we can get Gallo out of Slurpee machines at 7-11.

Kanteen Maestro Hardy

We stopped by a few traditional wineries as well. Arista, C. Donatiello, Merry Edwards and Freestone. Trips down Westside Road in the Russian River Valley are always pleasant and the wines are always full of cola and cherries. Freestone is a new one for us. Turns out this fancy space, next to the best bakery in the world, is owned by Napa stalwart Joseph Phelps. They aren't the only invaders from the East (Camus is entrenched with the Boheme guys). The Friday night farmers markets in Occidental are fun and a chance to meet lots of the growers and sample wines at the "Cellar Door". It appears most vineyards are leased and rest are spoken for. So much for finding any hidden gems out there. None the less, all these wines are worth checking out.

A great and relaxing time was had. A great birthday party was held for yours truly (Dan) that included many insanely great wines including a few 1999 and 2000 Champagnes to go with our Hog Island oysters (BBQ'd and on the half shell). We enjoyed lots of pool time, hikes and sun.

Now it's time to sell the Grenache Rosé!

Oysters and Babybacks

ItalicAaron surveys the party damage

Watch the fog on Willow Creek Road
and groove to Harlem

Friday, May 28, 2010

What to Make in 2010?

We will answer that question in 2011.

The Deux Punx are constantly bouncing ideas off each other, checking the bank account and changing those ideas. This is our infinite loop.

But here are some things that are in the loop right now:

1. Humboldt Pinot. This is a MUST. We'd max out our credit cards for this fruit.
2. Grenache Rose. Summer would suck without it. Maybe up the quantities and put some in our kegs.
3. Roussanne. After an honest critique from Randall Grahm we know this could be ready for the masses (8 people is a mass, right?) with some adjustments to our pressing technique. Some Viogner in there could be fun too.
4. Grenache. Maybe do it fresh and fruity (BBQ drinker). Pull it early and get the acids up and the fruit down. All stainless?
5. Syrah. We are saddened by the fact that we won't be doing Wahluke Slope syrah this year. But we are talking to Dry Creek growers about this varietal that is just about impossible to sell (yet everyone loves).
6. ?????. We are poking around looking for odd-ball grapes, good deals and, most importantly, cool growers.

There you go. That's it! Wait, maybe we should...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Theme Song - Of Sorts

My neighbor Nancy Guettier just dropped this on me:

Who's the guy who makes
wine with his own two hands
You're damn right
Who is the man
that would risk his last glass for his brother man?
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat that won't freak out
when there's french wine all about
Right on
You see this cat Schaaf is a bad mother--
(Shut your mouth)
But I'm talkin' about Schaaf
(Then we can dig it)
He's a complicated man
but no one understands him except Aaron
(Dan Schaaf)

Friday, April 2, 2010

dumb punx have dumb luck

In March of '08 we were excited by the prospect of pitching in on a ton of Pinot Noir from a great, small vineyard in Anderson Valley. We were set to pay a huge sum of money for the ton and had no idea what we were going to do with it. Later that spring we visited the vineyard as well as visiting Josh (former winemaker/owner) at Lazy Creek. While at Lazy Creek we met the Hoopes who scratched a name and vineyard name on the back of a business card.

The week we were visiting Anderson Valley it was warm and bud break was a couple weeks behind us. it was a spring of optimism and the young buds on "our" young pinot vines were ready to work their magic - producing more beautiful Anderson Valley fruit. The week after we visited the temperatures plummeted and frosts killed off 75% of the starts in the vineyard. We were immediately knocked from a much shorter list of folks that would be getting fruit in Anderson Valley and with heads hung low had to figure out whether A) we were going to stick with it and B) where the heck we were going to find fruit.

With the business card from the Hoopes in hand we called Alan Estrada at Elk Prairie in southern Humboldt County. Having tried (on the Hoopes' suggestion) a Woodenhead Pinot produced from his grapes in 2002 we knew that the grapes could produce great things but we were nervous about our ability to eventually sell (getting ahead of ourselves a bit) wine from Humboldt. Since then we've grown even closer to the grapes from Elk Prairie and the man responsible for those grapes. Our love for the the Elk Prairie grapes is, by this point, much documented.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal re-reminded me of another reason why the frosts of '08 and our chance meeting of the Hoopes were so absolutely fortunate. In the summer of '08, as the Northern Californians among you will remember, we were plagued by wildfires. One especially hard hit area was the area surrounding Anderson Valley. As the Wall Street Journal article discusses this has left a large portion of the '08 wines out of Anderson Valley with a smoke taint due to the smoke from the fires hitting the valley while the young grapes were already hanging from the vines. This has been a tremendous blow for that year's vintage out of AV and one that probably would have psychologically and financially, especially after paying so much for the grapes,knocked us further back on our heals than we could have recovered from.

Here's the Wall Street Journal Article for your reading pleasure:
Sipping These Wines Is Like Smoking And Drinking at the Same Time

This photo shows us with our stamped LLC docs back from the Secretary of State (yes I'm totally voting to re-elect Bowen next year) - all thanks to our dumb luck, mindless obsession and well... our dumb luck. Thanks spring frosts, due to your arrival in '08 we are further along in our long and (not)prosperous careers as glorified janitors, dishwashers and door-to-door wine salesmen!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

End of the (Winey) Road

It's been a blast but the end of the road has hit us. ABC forms, cheap wine at Trader Joe's, Dan's spelling issues and Aaron's love of Lodi have gotten the best of the deux poseurs.


dan and aaron.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Alex Chilton - R>I>P>

We were sitting in Aaron's kitchen drinking a Tablas Creek Syrah and listening to Big Star last night. It was warm out and things seemed ideal.

I never travel that far without a little Big Star...Here's some Alex Chilton for you:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Day in Dry Creek Looking for Syrah

just a few images from our day in dry creek looking for grenache and syrah grapes for 2010. alan baker of cartograph wines joined us at Polesky-Lentz, grist, unti, floodgate, arista and woodenhead.

aaron at Polesky-Lentz

syrah vines at Polesky-Lentz

pinot vines at floodgate

aaron and alan baker discus his
2009 pinot barrel samples

soil profile at grist

2009 syrah that didn't find a barrel

syrah vines at grist

alan enjoying the humboldt
pinot at woodenhead

more story to come...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What's the Neu Wine for 2010?

the short answers are: "we don't know" and "not mourvedre".

we are searching for the newest flavor in our limited arsenal of wines. our goal (nay, concept) is to add a new varietal each year and possibly increase production of the ones that we like the most. believe us when we say nothing we do is sales driven.

mourvedre is obscure, mourvedre is heavy, mourvedre is cheap and mourvedre is available. after a tasting of 5 in the $15 to $20 range we can conclude mourvedre is not making the 2010 line up. back to AAA.

back to the minors

grenache is up next. we are building a collection of wines to sample. the most intriguing wine are from Paso, SLO and Santa Barbara. Too far away? Hell no; we are the guys who drive to Humboldt for pinot. We are seaching out Sonoma and Mendo producers in an attempt to reduce our Sasquatchian carbon footprint.

Tasting notes soon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

ABC (not) as easy as 1-2-3

We are diligently trying to get all our ducks in a row to release our first wine this Spring. About a million forms and agencies are involved in this process. The California ABC is the most important; they issue wholesale wine licenses.

We had our first meeting with them this week and left without a license; however we did leave with a wealth of knowledge and a good amount of hope. We need our federal TTB approval and a stamped copy of our LLC forms from the CA Sec of State. The staff was very helpful and thought we could get approval in less than 120 days.

It's gonna be a close race to get our Rosé on the shelves for late spring. Aaron is guessing June 15th, I a month earlier. Now who's the optimist?

Pray for Indian Summer...

Dan's Version

Aaron's Version

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pigs and Pinot

Pork goes well with Pinot Noir, there is no arguing that fact. We have learned a lot about Pinot the past few years during our adventures. But what about pork? I figured why not find out more about our wine's favorite companion. I took a 1-day pig slaughter and butchery class from the folks at TLC Ranch in Aromas.

my new friend

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about this class. Guts are not my thing and there was a serious barf/passout fear factor. Luckily I knew 2 of my classmates and we psyched each other up on our Saturday morning trip to Monterey County.

how could i not do this?

The ranch owner, Jim, was extremely cool, personable and knowledgeable. He explained to the 10 of us how he operates his farm, the types of pigs he raises, how they are treated and how their lives end. Our project pig was small and cute. His death, a single .22 shot to head and then a slit throat, was quick and not very gruesome. He was submerged in warm water for a few minutes to loosen his hair, and then the scrapping began. We all took turns removing every last bit of hair from the pig and it was at that point the class felt a sense of camaraderie. To keep this post on the non-graphic side, let's just say we made a few more cuts and guts were spilled.

big ones!

After the pig was hanging to dry, Jim took us on a tour of his farm. We spent time with a group of very pregnant sows and gilts, they are like giant dogs. We then ate a great pork based lunch and proceeded to learn to how to butcher a whole pig.

I learned a lot about the cuts on a pig and am good at carving out the ribs (babybacks and spareribs). I walked out of there with a lot of knowledge, appreciation for farmers and 20 pounds of prime pork. I can't wait to drink our 08 Pinot with that 3-pound roast wrapped in the skin from the leg. mmmmmm.

piles of pork!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I think somewhere we wrote that punks and wines both age gracefully. I think Aaron wrote it. I am not sure I would use the word “graceful” to describe him (or myself); maybe semi-gauche or brambly are better wine words for him. The following are some random things you should know about him.

Aaron wants to be a comedian. He sees humor in just about everything and can always make a crowd laugh. He is still working on his set for open mic night at Farley’s. Can’t wait for that!

Aaron isn’t dogmatic about the wines he makes or buys or drinks from my cellar. He’s got a pride for Washington wine that is authentic. He’s no zealot, but don’t trash talk the SayWA! state wines in his presence. In 2007 he said f-it and went full bore to make a barrel of Wahluke Syrah from the Doc Stewart vineyard at this family home in Olympia. Using borrowed and homemade equipment along with family labor he turned out a great wine that is just now coming of age. Sure he f-ed up along the way but he also learned A LOT. The 2008 and 2009 barrels are tasting first-rate thanks to lessons learned in 2007.

Aaron bleeds punkness and has paid his dues to the punk rock toll takers. He spent time helping DC bands sound good at the Black Cat, helped get the Oly scene going, experiencing the heyday of SF music (not the Summer of Love), took on Seattle, LA and rolled back to SF. His drums may be getting dusty in his office but they are ready at a moments notice. Maybe he’ll start a new band with wife Jenne. Those long (12+ hour) drives to vineyards are always filled with great mixes of new and old music that keep our eyes open.

Besides punk rock and wine, baseball is a third of our conversations. I try to overlook the fact that Aaron has a dark dark history as a Dodgers fan and always associate him with the Mariners. His favorite player of all time is Edgar Martinez and he’s about a fond of the Yankees as I am. His Bringers of Doom had a great rookie season in our fantasy baseball league and Aaron learned way too much about useless baseball stats.

Every time I feel a bit nervous about our venture into the wine business Aaron talks me deeper into the merde. There is a crazy synergy between us. Neither of us would have gone this far without the other. I have no idea where Deux Punx is headed but I am sure it will be a fun ride.


Today Aaron Olson is 40 (XL). Happy Birthday Punk!