OUR GLORIOUS STORY
In 1994, my soon-to-be wife and I moved to the heart of the Russian River Valley. Back then we were surrounded by apple orchards, hence the name Gravenstein Highway, the main road into our town. As we started raising children, we noted the “razing” of the apple trees and the planting of vines. Those vines would grow to become some of the most prized Pinot Noir in California.
If you live in Hollywood long enough, chances are you are going to make friends with folks in the entertainment industry. If you lived in Detroit back in the heyday, the guys on your bowling team probably knew a lot about making cars. Living in the Russian River Valley, my pals are vineyard managers, coopers, winemakers, stainless steel fabricators and various other tradesmen who are involved in the wine industry. It was only a matter of time before bottles of Pinot Noir from friends and neighbors started showing up at our barbeques. I had never been much of a “vino guy” but as these gems started coming my way, I learned to appreciate the fabulous juice that was being created in my own backyard and soon I was hooked.
A few years later my pal Slawek and I were kicking around the notion that if we make our own wine we could fill our cellars, (well, closets), with Pinot at a fraction of what it would cost to buy it retail. It was then that “über-heavy machine master” Jay Meyer stepped in and, with a favor from a friend of his, came up with, not just the one ton of fruit that we originally wanted, but four tons of premium Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in a year when fruit was very difficult to get. This was in 2007 and it is considered by some to be the harvest of the century in the RRV. It was with this fruit, some help from a hot-shot winemaker buddy and some wads of cash, that PURPLE PACHYDERM PINOT NOIR was born. (Of course we then found out that making wine, good wine, is a damned expensive venture and should not be undertaken by anyone who has any form of financial common sense).
The notion of the PACHYDERM wines as well as our PINK PLATYPUS ROSÉ is to create a high-end wine that is approachable to those who are looking for quality but are a bit intimidated by the stuffy stereotype that can sometimes dominate a good wine list. Also, all of this has been a great excuse for us to throw some “fat wing-dinger” parties with eclectic folk and fancy food. (That “fancy food” includes our partner Slawek’s secret Polish family-style, sauerkraut).
Moving into our sixth vintage, we’ve made some aggressive moves at CLAYPOOL CELLARS. The biggest move we have made was our hiring of Pinot legend and all around smooth fellow, Ross Cobb. Ross is arguably the leading Pinot Noir craftsman in Northern California right now and after tasting his wares, and hearing that he plays some “phat ass” reggae bass, we are exhilarated to welcome him into the PACHYDERM fold. He and his partner Katy Wilson have taken the helm to finish up our 2011 and will be fully piloting our 2012 from field to bottle. Working with this team will elevate our fancy booze into the stratosphere and though we will be maintaining our current line of Pinots, we will also be introducing limited quantity, ultra high-end juice that Ross Cobb is known for.
Once again, I hope you enjoy the product of our toil and, me being a picky bastard, you should take comfort in the notion that you are drinking from my own personal stash.