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What is in your Russian River Valley blend?

Any of our blended wines are 100% Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Zinfandel. While it is somewhat common in winemaking to blend different types of varietals, we make pure varietal wines.

What we do blend is the vineyards or clones. One of the exciting aspects of winemaking is tasting and smelling how a wine evolves after fermentation. Each wine develops its individual characteristics—expressing the vineyard’s terroir through aromas and flavors distinctive to that wine. We then create a blend from the different single vineyards combining the flavors that complement each other to create a beautiful wine, much like you would create a dish with different spices and flavors.

The vineyards that we put into the Russian River blend vary from year to year depending on the flavors coming from each vineyard.

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What is a Single-Vineyard Designate wine?

All the grapes used to produce the wine are from a single vineyard. Generally, the vineyard is credited by listing its name on the label. Example: 2009 Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard, Russian River Valley.

When you taste single-vineyard wines, you can really appreciate what is unique in that wine and why it is different from another wine of the same varietal from a different vineyard. You can taste how a wine made from adjacent vineyards can vary, or how wine produced from a vineyard down the road is very different from one only a mile away in the other direction. The smell, the taste, the very essence of the wine changes from vineyard to vineyard.

With single-vineyard wines, they are what they are—each an individual, just like a person—all uniquely different. To qualify for a single-vineyard designation, at least 95% of the wine must come from the vineyard listed on the label. Making the wine truly an expression of that vineyard—a sense of place.

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What is a clone?

A clone refers to a grape variety that is selected for specific qualities that result from natural mutations. Cuttings are made from an original “mother vine” that exhibits key characteristics, such as resistance to certain diseases or desired cluster size, taste, smell, etc. A clone’s name may be a series of numbers as with Pinot Noir Clone 777 or a more traditional name like Pinot Noir Pommard Clone.

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What is a Clonal-Designate wine?

A wine produced from just one type of clone, like Pinot Noir Clone 777 or Zinfandel Mother Clone.

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What is an Appellation?

An appellation is a legally-defined and recognized geographic grape-growing region. Each appellation exhibits a different combination of soil, weather patterns and terrain.

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What is terroir?

Through their aromas and flavors wines share their unique expression of place, what the French call terroir. What changes from year to year in a single-vineyard wine is the growing season. We believe the fruit should always speak for itself, expressing its terroir and how that year affected the grapes, and in turn, the wine from that vintage.

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What does Garagista mean?

Garagista is a French term used to describe a garage-based winemaking operation. Once seen as a negative, garagista wineries gained considerable recognition during the late 1990s, and are now treated with a cult-like status.

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What is the winemaking bug?

A well know yet rarely discussed disease among winery owners and winemakers. It is something you ‘catch’ like other bugs and there is no known cure for it.

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What is must?

Must is the grape juice, (and skins, seeds and pulp if it is red wine) before it is fermented into wine.

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How can you tell if a wine is corked?

A corked wine generally smells moldy or off-putting, sort of like a old musty basement. If a wine is just slightly corked, the fruit flavors will seem faded or subdued.

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What is the cause of corked wines?

Wines become corked or corky when certain bacteria (TCA or tricholoranisole) in the cork cells interact with minute amounts of chemical residues that may remain in corks or wine bottles after they are cleaned. A corked wine has a defective aroma and flavor, although it will not harm the drinker. Corked wine cannot be predicted. Any wine regardless of its quality or price can be corky.

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Can you do anything to salvage a corked wine?

No, not really. There are some stories out there about using Saran Wrap, but we think it is just best to move on and drink a good bottle of wine.

If you purchased the wine from us, just call us and we’ll replace it or credit your account.

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What can be done if a wine seems fizzy or spritz?

Decanting a wine can help settle it down and lose that fizziness.

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At what temperature should wine be served?

Serving wine at the optimal temperature allows the full range of aromas, flavors and structure to appear. White wine is often served too cold, especially during the summer months, and red wine is frequently served too warm. The temperature range for a red wine is between 55° and 63° F. If you find that a red wine seems too warm, place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to cool t down.

For lighter white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and champagne, it is recommended they be served around 45° F, while heavier whites like Chardonnay show best around 55° F.

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What is the best way to store left over wine and how long will it keep?

If it is a Papapietro Perry wine it is hard to believe that there is any left over, but we suppose it is possible. Consumer Reports tested a variety of wine savers and preservers, concluding that putting the cork back in the bottle and storing it in a cool location for not more than 3 days was just as effective as fancy devices or gases.

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How much wine can be produced from an acre of grapes?

Here are the averages, courtesy of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association.

5 tons of grapes is an average yield from one acre of vineyard land

5 tons of grapes = 13.5 barrels of wine

13.5 barrels of wine = 797 gallons

797 gallons = 3,985 bottles

3,985 bottles = 15,940 glasses of wine

If you are having a really big party in about 3-5 years, think about purchasing an acre of grapes now!

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How many glasses of wine are in one barrel?

1 barrel = 59 gallons

59 gallons = 24.6 cases

24.6 cases = 1,180 glasses of wine

Information courtesy of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association

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How many grapes in a case of wine?

30 lbs of grapes = 1 case of wine

1 case of wine = 12 bottles

12 bottles = 48 6 oz. glasses of wine

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How do temperature changes affect wine?

Whenever possible, we try to keep wine at cellar temperature which is between 50° - 60° F. When wine is transported from our cellar to another location, like your wine cellar, it is good to keep the ambient temperature in mind. If you are buying wine on a hot summer’s day, bring along ice packs and coolers to set the wine into after purchasing. This will help to keep it cool and avoid dramatic temperature changes in the wine.

Our goal is to never ship wine during the hottest months of the summer, and we’re careful where we ship wine during the coldest months of the winter, too.

Although we try to think green, when it comes to transporting our wine, we do what is best for the wine. Styrofoam shippers are excellent insulators from both heat and cold, and they protect the wine when it is being tossed around during shipping by a common carrier.

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If a cork is pushing out of a bottle, is the wine ruined?

Not necessarily. If the wine got too hot or too cold, it can cause the cork to move upward. Unless the wine is exposed to prolonged temperature extremes, the wine should still be fine. The best way to find out is to pop the cork and try the wine.

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Where is the best place to store wine?

Try to avoid the top of your refrigerator, in the attic or next to a heater. Think of wine like you would perishable food. The more optimal the storage temperature, the longer a vegetable or fruit remains fresh. The same is true for wine.

Find a dark, cool interior wall closet for storing your wines. Placing the wine box on the floor works well unless you have heated floors. Then you’ll need to put the wine at least few feet off the floor. Although most California homes lack basements or cellars, the rest of the country has a great wine storage option. Basements generally are cooler and keep temperature range similar to a wine cellar. With proper storage, our Pinot Noir and Zinfandel will last 5-7 years, in some cases a bit longer. Storage is not the only criteria for a wine’s ability to age. Some vintages just age better than others.

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Does the shape of the wine glass make a difference when tasting/drinking wine?

Yes! If you don’t believe it, experiment with different wine glasses – shapes and manufacturers – and you’ll be amazed at the results.

At Papapietro Perry, we want everyone who comes to our tasting room to experience the full magic of our wines. That is why we only serve our wine in Riedel stemware, especially designed for Pinot Noir.

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Why is so much emphasis put on the type of barrels used in winemaking?

Entire books are written on this topic, but we’ll give you the condensed book version here and just focus on our philosophy.

Oak barrels impart flavors into the wine as well as promote the softening of tannins (harsh flavors) during the aging process. Oak barrels are produced in many countries and can range in price from $600 to more than $1,500 per barrel. Meaning not all barrels are created equal.

At Papapietro Perry, we use only one type of oak barrel – Francois Frères. We consider Francois Frères barrels to be the best of the best and that quality is reflected in our Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

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What is Brett?

It can be the name of my college roommate’s brother, or it can be the nickname for brettanomyces, a yeast that can occur in wine. Wines that have brett will impart the aromas and flavors of wet dog, dirty gym socks, band-aids or an earthy, barnyard quality. Although considered a winemaking flaw by some, many French Burgundy producers believe a little brett can enhance their Pinot Noirs.

At Papapietro Perry, we vote with the camp that believes brett to be a flaw. Fastidious cleaning practices prevent brett from entering our cellar, and we plan to keep it that way.

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Why are wine bottles different shapes?

Traditionally the shape of a wine bottle denoted the type or varietal of wine it contained. European wine producing countries set this standard long ago and it has since been adopted by the new world wine producers.

The sloped-shoulder Burgundy bottle is generally used for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the two varietals grown in the Burgundy region of France.

A high-shouldered Bordeaux bottle is used for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Bordeaux varietal blends and Zinfandel. A Bordeaux bottle is also used for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, two white varietals.

The tall narrow Hock bottle is used for varietals like Riesling and Gewurztraminer that are traditional to the French region of Alsace or the German regions of Mosel or Rhine.

Not all wineries continue to use the traditional bottle shapes for their wine, but at Papapietro Perry we have chosen to go with tradition. Our Pinot Noirs are in a sloped-shoulder Burgundy bottle and our Zinfandels are in the high-shouldered Bordeaux bottle.

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What food pairs best with Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir complements so many foods. We don’t live by the “white wine with fish and red with meat” rule. We drink Pinot with most everything. It is especially delicious with salmon, chicken, duck and lamb. We avoid pairing it with spicy foods and chocolate. We don’t think any wine pairs with artichokes or asparagus, although when you grill the asparagus we have found it to be acceptable.

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What food pairs best with Zinfandel?

Zinfandel seems to shine when we make heartier fare, such as barbeque, spicy pasta dishes and Asian dishes.

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When is the best time to drink Papapietro Perry wines?

At the winery we think 4:30 is the perfect time…

The wines really shine in 3-5 years from vintage date. Some vintages may continue to improve beyond that. However, we are continually dipping into our library of older vintages and are always pleasantly surprised to find them still drinking beautifully. If you have a question about a particular wine, give us a call or send an email and we will let you know what we think.

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photo of Bruce and Renae Perry's sweet brown lab, Ruby