With the 2009 vintage wines tranquilly resting in barrel, there is finally a moment to reflect on what has been a fabulous year for us here on top of Spring Mountain. The feeling of contentment is particularly strong knowing just how phenomenally concentrated the fruit expression in our 2009 red wines turned out to be.
The October, 2009 issue of Food & Wine Magazine gives the results of their 12th Annual American Wine Awards. A 33-member panel of sommeliers, critics, winemakers and retailers blind tasted wines in 20 different categories and awarded the Pride Mountain Vineyards 2006 Merlot ($56) as "the best American merlot at any price".
Pride wines, MC Hammer and a tribute to Ed DeBarto
What better way for winemaker Sally Johnson to enjoy a little unexpected down time than to head to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco? Here she joined an all-star cast of pro-football players, rock stars (MC Hammer joined her for a quick photo) and politicos (including Willie Brown and Diane Feinstein) all honoring legendary owner of the SF 49'ers Ed DeBartolo, Jr. DeBartolo was inducted into an internal Hall of Fame created by the 49'ers to honor the numerous legends that have emerged from their organization.
LPGA leader Cristie Kerr is also a leader in the fight against breast cancer. Every year she hosts her Birdies for Breast Cancer Charity Golf Classic to raise funds to help women with breast cancer, and most recently has created the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center on the campus of the Jersey City Medical Center. The Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center will provide screening, education, recovery and support services for women with breast cancer. Services will be available for women with and without medical insurance.
The Society of Wine Educators held their annual conference in Sacramento the last week of July and concluded the festivities with an in depth tasting of Spring Mountain wines on Saturday, August 1 in the caves at Pride Mountain Vineyards. The Society’s goal is to foster and promote the professional education and development of the individual in particular, and the professional education and development of the wine industry as a whole.
Festival del Sole takes place every summer in the Napa Valley. The Festival features concerts by some of the world’s most celebrated musical artists, five-star cuisine, opulent venues, art exhibits, and wines from Napa’s top vintners, all blended in a unique celebration of the art of life.
Right on schedule, purple berries have been spotted in our Sangiovese and Merlot blocks. Chardonnay and Viognier grapes are also beginning to ripen, turning from firm and green to soft, translucent and golden. Our crop is not heavy this year, although we do have more fruit than in 2008, which was the lightest year in our history.
If the final stage of a wine’s life cycle is the transfer from open bottle to waiting glass, then this is its penultimate stage...the bottling line. After going through harvest, crush, fermentation, cellaring, racking, and many, many blending trials, this is where winemaker Sally Johnson (shown), bottling manager Chris Bergen, and the rest of the Pride Mountain Vineyards crew put the final wines to bed, where they will rest for four to six months before being shared with you.
Our vines have just started to flower and, hallelujah, the weather is calm and clear! In the photo, you see a lower cluster that has just begun to bloom and an upper cluster that is just about to. Grapes self-pollinate. In the first hour after one of the flowers bursts open, microscopic pollen grains fall from the tips of the five white filaments onto the the would-be berry at the center where they hopefully attach to the stigma (the white circle with the green dot at the center if you zoom in on the photo). This sets in process a chain of events that culminates in a grape berry. If it is raining when the flower opens, the pollen can be washed away, or if it is too hot and windy, the pollen can dry up and blow away. When this occurs, only a fraction of the berries set and this has implications throughout the entire growing and ripening season.
Suzanne Pride Bryan and Peggy Fleming Raise a Glass
Suzanne Pride Bryan and Olympic Gold Medalist Peggy Fleming, both cancer survivors, share a toast with Fleming’s Victories Rosé crafted by her Fleming Jenkins winery. Proceeds from the sale of Victories Rosé go to the fight against breast cancer. Suzanne Pride Bryan and Peggy Fleming are pictured at the 49er Foundation annual Winter and Wine Fest fundraiser for disadvantaged youth at Squaw Valley on Saturday, March 28, 2009.
Suzanne Pride Bryan, co-owner (left), stands with Les Goodman (center) chef de cuisine of Dry Creek Kitchen and Pride Mountain Vineyards Winemaker, Sally Johnson (right) at the April 16 Winemaker Dinner in Healdsburg. Pride Mountain will also be pairing with famed chef Charlie Palmer at their Washington D.C. venue, Charlie Palmer's Capitol Hill on October 26, 2009.
Notes on the New Release Schedule from Steve Pride
For the past fifteen years we have wanted to give our wines a few more months of bottle age before releasing them to you. Our Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Reserve wines have historically been released with only a month of time in the bottle. So this year, we plan to use the slow economy to your advantage by delaying by a few months most of our offerings.
Oregon Classic Wines Auction is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009. The recent Appreciation Dinner for this year’s Honorary Winery Ambassadors, Board of Directors and successful high bidders, was held at Domaine Serene, situated in the Dundee Hills southwest of Portland, Oregon.