Three Sticks invites you to join us at the Eighth Street Wineries Open House on Saturday, February 23rd from 11am to 4pm. The bi-annual tasting is a collection of 10 boutique wineries serving food and wine pairings from their limited releases. Three Sticks is featuring the following wines from our 2013 Spring Releases, which will be offered to our Allocation Members on February 27th (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE):
• 2010 Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir
• 2010 Silver Eagle Vineyard Pinot Noir
• 2009 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
• 2009 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Franc
ALLOCATION LIST DISCOUNTED TICKETS
Tickets are $40 advance, $45 at door, $10 designated driver. To receive your Allocation Member Discount Code for $10 off per ticket, check your recent Save-the-Date email letter or contact Hayden Schmidter at Hayden@ThreeSticksWines.com or by calling (707) 996-3328 x105.
To learn more, visit EighthStreetWineries.com.
The Three Sticks Team
Three Sticks Wines is excited to share advance notice to our family, friends and fans regarding the opening of our 2013 Spring Releases, which will occur on Tuesday, February 26th. We will be sending a link via email to our Allocation Members so you can automatically log in to your allocation. Please make sure to add us to your address book to ensure the email is not blocked. You will also receive a printed order form in the mail -- note that it is not a second offer, but another ordering option.
The Three Sticks Spring Release will Include
• 2010 Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir
• 2010 Silver Eagle Vineyard Pinot Noir
• 2009 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
• 2009 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Franc
As a friendly reminder, wines are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and many sell out before the end of the offering period. Please order early for best selection. Make sure to keep an eye out for our email on February 26th! If you have questions, please contact Hayden Schmidter at Hayden@ThreeSticksWines.com or by calling (707) 996-3328 x105.
We also invite you to come out to say hello and taste the wines at the Eighth Street Wineries Open House on Saturday, February 23rd from 11am to 4pm. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
If you're new to Three Sticks, please CLICK HERE to request to join our allocation list.
The Three Sticks Team
In our most recent blog, Winter at Durell Vineyard: A Time of Contrast and Renewal, we visited with Rob Harris, Director of Vineyard Operations, as the task of pruning was underway at Durell Vineyard. We now turn our attention to the winery and other big news that has unfolded over the past several months, including proprietor Bill Price’s purchase of Gap’s Crown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Vineyard (our first vintage will be in 2012)! Read the full Wine Spectator story by CLICKING HERE.
And now, the rest of the story, as we prepare to share some very exciting times at Three Sticks for 2013!
In the Winery: Racking, Bottling & Blending
The winter months in the winery are generally consumed with racking barrels from the previous vintage and bottling wines from the vintage prior to last. The racking process consists of carefully siphoning off wine from one barrel, to remove it from the lees, to a clean barrel. Lees are deposits of dead and/or residual yeast. As a small winery, bottling wine is done with mobile bottling lines that are built into the back of a semi-trailer truck. When the truck backs in, it’s all hands on deck to bottle, cork, cap, label and box. Whew!
This is also the time when we sequester the team for a series of meetings to select our Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The games have now begun for the 2010 vintage to find that “just right blend” sourced from multiple mountain vineyard blocks that include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot. Early in 2012, we visited with Winemaker Don Van Staaveren to learn his blending process, which we covered in the blogs Three Sticks Cabernet Sauvignon & the Art of Blending - Part I & 2.
As many of you know, Three Sticks Wines acquired The Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe in 2012. Considered one of the oldest occupied residences in Sonoma, the quaint home is located just off the beautiful town square. We are relocating our administrative offices to the property this year, and will use the existing dining room and living room to host private tastings by appointment only for our allocation members (we will not be open for public tastings), as well as to provide a space for displaying items of local historical interest on both a permanent and rotating basis.
With our new home, we’ll have many more opportunities to share special moments with our friends and fans, which means we needed just the right person to manage these special occasions and to be your liaison to Three Sticks. With that, we’d like to introduce you to Hayden Schmidter (pictured here), who will handle all things hospitality and take the lead with allocations for our 2013 new releases. Hayden can be contacted at Hayden@ThreeSticksWines.com or by calling (707) 996-3328 x105.
The Three Sticks Team
If you’ve been following the Three Sticks blog this past year and read our September feature, "Harvest 2012 & Never Looking Mother Nature Directly in the Eye," you might remember the reticence of our vineyard team to make any declarations on the quality of the 2012 vintage. The most we were able to extract was, “We have no complaints,” delivered with a restrained smile from our Viticuluralist and Assistant Vineyard Manager, Jackie Mancuso. At the time, it looked as though harvest would begin full swing within the next couple of weeks, and picking would wrap up fairly quickly.
And then, Mother Nature did her thing: the weather cooled and the fruit hung for nearly a month longer. Luckily, the weather held beautifully and the extended hangtime gave us what may be one of California’s finest vintages in decades.
We recently visited with Winemaker Don Van Staaveren, as well as our newest members to the winemaking team, Enologist Jenny Schultz and Production Enologist Todd Arnold (and Shaka, winery dog) for a little Q&A on harvest and their personal experiences.
Three Sticks: Don, we’ve been talking to other winemakers and vineyard managers, and we’re hearing consistent raves about the quality of the 2012 fruit, with yields generally up about 30 percent over the past couple of years.
Don: Harvest was very compressed. The early ripening fruit hung longer, and the late maturing fruit caught up. Everything came in during a very tight two-week window -- last year was six weeks. The quality is absolutely there; we’ve seen healthy fermentations, as well as excellent acidity and pH. As far as yields, Durell Vineyard is very self-limiting, which is why the estate delivers us exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit year after year. We’re up over 2011, but less came in than our projections. Durell does what Durell does, and that’s what makes it such a special site.
Three Sticks: Over the past few years, Three Sticks has selectively expanded our portfolio to source fruit from other top vineyards along the coastal AVAs of California. How did harvest look in these vineyards and what should we expect to see from these small-lot bottlings?
Don: For our Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which is actually mountain fruit, we’ve seen excellent grapes from the Bismark and Bald Mountain Vineyards. [Don grins] I’m especially impressed with the stellar Cabernet Sauvignon we sourced from the Moon Mountain District, which will be new to the 2012 blend. For Pinot Noir, we’ve got THE JAMES Sta. Rita Hills and Silver Eagle Ridge from the Sonoma Coast. 2010 was the first year we sourced Silver Eagle Ridge Pinot Noir – the first release will be in 2013. All looks top notch. For whites, we again have a tiny amount of Pinot Blanc from the Carneros, and another new source, Chardonnay from the One Sky Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain.
Three Sticks: Todd, you’re pretty new to the team here, but you’ve been working in winery cellars since 2006, learning on the job and expanding your experience. What was new for you this year, and what was your take-away from 2012?
Todd: The biggest thing for me this harvest was lab work with Don and Jenny. Basically, Don had Jenny and I switch it up, where she spent most of her time on the floor handling production and me in the lab. It’s a great example of how Three Sticks strives to build our team’s knowledge base and continually pursue excellence. It was great. On the harvest side, like Don said, the high acids and steady pH in all the wines is nothing like I’ve seen. We almost didn’t need our sorting table this year.
Three Sticks: Jenny, you’re our newest member of the winemaking team. After getting your MS in Viticulture and Enology at U.C. Davis, and then working harvests in New Zealand, South Africa, and California, what’s been your overall experience here, and what was it like getting out of the lab and onto the floor?
Jenny: Learning to drive a forklift was a highlight. My time on the winery floor also gave me a greater perspective on how the science of chemistry directly relates to the art and flat-out hard work that it takes to make great wine. I think the best example is that Three Sticks harvests its grapes in 40lb bins, unlike most wineries that use one-ton bins. People think we’re crazy. They have a nickname for our bins – I won’t share here. Yes, it takes much longer to harvest and then process from 40lb bins, but the pay off comes in the quality of gently handling the fruit. Instead of feeling frustrated by the extra hours, I actually experienced a sense of pride like I’ve never felt before anywhere else.
Three Sticks: Don, any final thoughts?
Don: Right now, everything is looking very good for 2012. We’ve got a bit more fruit and some new sources in tank and barrels -- and cement eggs -- so this will help with tight allocations for our growing number of friends and fans. In the end, as is always the case, a vintage will take time to truly reveal itself – and this is just one of the many reasons we love the challenge of making great wine.
We also encourage you to reach out to our new Hospitality Director Hayden Schmidter with any questions concerning allocations and future releases at Hayden@ThreeSticksWines.com.
At Three Sticks, we have a list of exciting and delicious upcoming events, as well as some special offerings in the works for the holidays to help make shopping easy. We look foward to celebrating harvest and the holidays together! Read on...
Thursday, November 1st: Dallas/Fort Worth Dinner Event at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. Dinner currently sold out. However, if interested in attending, CLICK HERE to contact Michelle to see if there is any flexibility.
Thursday, November 8th: Three Sticks Release Party for our VIP allocation members. You know who you are! For inquiries, CLICK HERE to contact Michelle.
…Stay tuned for Dinner at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara - Early 2013.
Friday, April 5th SAVE THE DATE: Celebrate San Francisco Giant's Opening Day with Three Sticks at Paragon Restaurant in SF.
Holiday 2012 - Give the Gift of Three Sticks this Holiday Season! We have put together an incredible offering of our wines to make your holiday shopping easy. More to follow soon! For inquiries, CLICK HERE to contact Michelle.
Winter 2013 - 2010 Pinots and 2009 Bordeauxs. We have two incredible vineyard designated pinots - Durell Vineyard and Silver Eagle Vineyard from the Green Valley/Russian River Valley that will be released in early 2013 along with our righteous 2009 Sonoma Valley Cabernet and 2009 Cabernet Franc. Don't miss these small-lot releases -- CLICK HERE to join our Allocation List.
As always, thank you for enjoying our wines with us. It makes our work incredibly gratifying!
The Three Sticks Team
Three Sticks Wines invites you to join us and our neighborhood of winery friends for the 2012 summer edition of the Bi-Annual 8th Street Open House happening Saturday, August 4th from 11am to 4pm in Sonoma, California. Regular tickets are $35 advance / $45 at door and are available on the 8th Street Wineries' website www.eighthstreetwineries.com.
Your ticket includes all tastings and pairings at nine wineries, as well as a souvenir wine glass and the chance to win a half case of wine. If you're on our allocation list, make sure to check your recent offer letter to get your discount code!
At Three Sticks, we've got quite a day planned for our guests. Along with releasing our 2010 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay -- following the Wine Spectator's tremendous review naming Three Sticks one of the top 30 Chardonnay producers in California -- we're also introducing our first Barrel-Free Chardonnay that we affectionately call ORIGIN. In addition, our 2008 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will be on the table, with all our featured wines paired with delicious bites.
See you there!
Playing Both Sides of the Vineyard (So to Speak) & The Release of Our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Malbec
When looking back at the evolution of Three Sticks Wines over the past ten years (yes, it’s been a decade), we’ve seen ourselves grow from focusing on Burgundian varietals to embracing Bordeaux blends and varietals, to creating other micro-lot selections such as Pinot Blanc. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) through our founder Bill Price’s relationships in the close-knit community of wine, occasionally there rises an opportunity to get our hands on some very special fruit, and 2) the exceptional talent and versatility of our winemaker Don Van Staaveren.
At the risk of embarrassing Don and perhaps, overreaching, we’d like to draw some comparisons to past and current talents who have overcome remarkable odds to achieve greatness from both sides of their fields, so to speak. In the world of sports, especially in this day and age, Babe Ruth is unmatched. He was both a pitcher and power hitter. His lifetime averages: .228 ERA, .342 BA with 714 homeruns. In the domain of literature, it’s rare to find a person who can both write and illustrate with equal inspiration — one Beatrix Potter delivered us such a gift through her series of children’s books. We must also remind ourselves that she was a great land preservationist. And in the performing arts, Denzel Washington has consistently delivered great performances on both stage and screen.
Clearly, our point here is that Don has proven to be a winemaker with the rare talent to produce exceptional wines from both Burgundy and Bordeaux varietals, as well as having the palate (and team) to create refined and balanced blends. We invite you to revisit our recent blogs Three Sticks Cabernet Sauvignon & the Art of Blending - Part I & Part II. If you are already a fan of our Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs we’d like to entice you to crossover to the Bordeaux-varietal-side-of-life with our two latest releases…
2008 Three Sticks Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine expresses the bold richness and depth that draws people to great cabernets with a downright hedonistic mouth feel and sense of pure balance that is our signature at Three Sticks. It shows beautiful wild fruit, cassis and creamy spice on the nose, a silky mid-palate with complex blackberry, stone and continued creamy spice flavors through a long, layered finish. It drinks wonderfully right now, and as all Three Sticks Wines do, will continue to develop over the next 10+ years. This wine is available in very limited quantities with only 238 cases made.
2008 Three Sticks Malbec
The headiness and exotic hibiscus qualities of this Malbec are arresting. The sweet dark cherry and raspberry tea palate: gorgeous — transitioning to a long, persistent finish supported by great structure and the Three Sticks characters of texture, balance and richness. A mere 44 cases were produced.
To order CLICK HERE and enter your login and password to review your allocation and place an order. If you're still thirsty for more information on our 2008 Three Sticks Cabernet Sauvignon, check out our video below with Prema Behan and winemaker Don Van Staaveren.
Join Three Sticks Wines at Summer Events at Home and Around the Country!
Wednesday, June 20 - Special Jackson Hole Tasting Salon - If you are in town for the Jackson Hole Wine Auction and would like the opportunity for a private tasting of our wines please contact Karin Ott for details. Click here to email Karin Ott.
Saturday, June 30 - The Chardonnay Symposium - Three Sticks has been invited to join this event at Byron Vineyard and Winery in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County. If you love Chardonnay...don't miss it. Click here to buy tickets.
August 31 - September 2 - Sonoma Wine Country Weekend - Friday we are co-hosting a luncheon with Chef Sondra Bernstein (of the Girl & the Fig fame) at Bill and Eva's private residence on Sonoma Mountain. Saturday we are pouring at the MacMurray Ranch Grand Tasting and Sunday we are hosting (at least) one table at the Wine Auction! Click here for info. Tickets go on sale June 1. See you Labor Day Weekend!
SAVE THE DATE - SUMMER RELEASE PARTIES: Thursday, September 13 in San Francisco and Sunday, September 16 in Sonoma!
SAVE THE DATE TEXANS! Thursday, November 1 - Fort Worth Three Sticks Wine Dinner at Del Frisco's - More details to come. Save the Date or click here to email Michelle Idell with questions.
Later Summer/Fall - 2010 Chardonnays and Pinot Blanc release - For the first time ever we have a small amount of Barrel-Free Chardonnay from Durell in addition to our Barrel Fermented and Aged Chardonnay from Durell. 2010 Pinots Release. We have three incredible pinots from 2010: Durell Vineyard, Silver Eagle Vineyard from the Green Valley/Russian River Valley and a second release of the extremely popular JAMES from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.
Three Sticks invites our Southern California friends to join us at Sonoma in the City - Los Angeles on Tuesday April 24, 2012 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at The London West Hollywood. We'll be sharing tastes of our 2007 Sonoma Valley Cabernet and just released 2009 Durell Pinot Noir.
This grand tasting will also include a collection of Sonoma County's leading edge producers and feature more than 100 wines from 15 distinctive regions. You'll taste the diversity of terroir and winemaking styles and have the opportunity to interact with Sonoma County's winemakers and grape growers.
Tickets are $40.00 each and available at sonomala.eventbrite.com
The London West Hollywood, 1020 N San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Visa Signature® cardholders receive ticket discounts to Sonoma In The City. For full offer terms and conditions Visa.com/signature and CLICK HERE.
In Part I of “Three Sticks Cabernet Sauvignon & the Art of Blending,” we focused on the process of selecting the final blend. Here, we took time to sit down with winemaker Don Van Staaveren to discuss the vineyard sources and the general characteristics of the blenders, specifically for our upcoming 2008 release and how they come together.
“Cabernet Sauvignon sets the stage for this wine, with dark berry, cherry, mocha, and a solid framework,” says Don, when discussing the blend’s overall components. “Merlot softens any unruly tannins, and gives us dark raspberry, violets, plum, milk chocolate flavors. Cabernet Franc is the sleeper, extending the flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon with raspberries, blueberries, lavender, and spice. We bring in Petit Verdot to shore up the backbone with rawboned, dark chocolate, pomegranate, espresso, and dusty aromatics. Last but not least, Malbec adds a racy side with exotic, grapey, hibiscus, juicy, and additional color.”
With the flavor components considered above, Three Sticks does want to clarify that we do not follow a recipe. We believe that our wines must express the uniqueness of each vintage. Our goal is to make the best wine that each vintage gives us. Below we list our vineyard sources, and have selected them because of the consistent quality level they deliver. Once we bring the grapes into the winery, crush and ferment, we keep all the lots separate from de-stemming through aging. We can have as many as 9 to 10 different lots as potential candidates for our Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
We begin by individually tasting each lot and getting a sense of what their strong points might be. The first blend we make is the “kitchen sink” – a composite proportional blend of all the blending varieties. This gives us a feel of what we have to work with. Then, starting with our Mountain Terraces Cabernet Sauvignon, we decide how much of each Cabernet Sauvignon lot we want to use and develop our base blend. From there, we add or subtract lots or portions of lots to achieve the best “blend” possible from that vintage.
Mountain Terraces: 1,200-1,750 in elevation elevation, South x Southwest exposure, East-West row direction. Ryolitic/Basaltic soils. Planted in 1992. Mountain Terraces provides us with the core of the Cabernet Sauvignon used in this blend. This block is on a steeply terraced slope receiving all the benefits of the elements.
Bald Mountain: 1,700 foot elevation, Northwest x West exposure, East-West row direction, Basaltic soils – Red Hill loam – Sonoma volcanic: this is classic vineyard soil. This vineyard is dry farmed relying only on annual rainfall, deep roots and the water holding capacity of the soil. Planted in 2002. Bald Mountain is our Malbec source.
Alta Vista: 1,000 foot elevation, South exposure, Northeast-Southwest row direction, contoured to hillside. Ryolitic soil. Planted in 1992. Alta Vista is the home of a smaller portion of the Cabernet Sauvignon used in the blend. This Cabernet Sauvignon shows more integrated fruit with some brushy, cedary aroma.
Bismark Ranch: 1,800-2,200 feet in elevation, South exposure, Northeast-Southwest row direction predominately with one block East-West. Ryolitic tuff/Basaltic. Planted in 1998. We receive small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot from Bismark. The Cabernet Sauvignon is lively and grippy with red fruits. The Petit Verdot provides dark aromas and concentrated fruit and can supplement the structure of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
THE END RESULT
“The critical issue is ripeness, which can mean different things for different people,” explains Don. “For Three Sticks, ripeness is an absence of green flavors – more along the lines of ripe fruit, jammy, without getting into pruney, raisiney flavor. We avoid high alcohol levels. We pick the grapes based more on physiological parameters more than analytical numbers. With the slopes predominately facing south and west, this gives us the best opportunity to get ripe fruit. We also find that mountain fruit provides more intensity because the vineyards are slow growing with long hang time.”
Though the 2008 vintage had its challenges in some California regions, we believe our hands-on vineyard management and benefit of high-elevation vineyards will deliver yet another exceptional wine from our portfolio. If you are not already on our Allocation List, and you would like to be notified in advance of the release of our 2008 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, please click here to sign up.
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