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P & M Staiger

P & M Staiger P M STAIGER was established in 1973 on a ridge above Boulder Creek, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The site had been an early twentieth century vineyard and winery operated by the Jim Locatelli family but by the time we purchased the land the vines had long since disappeared and only a few large hoops from the old redwood tanks were all that remained of the cellar. We replanted the vineyard and built a new house and winery, designed by Robert Walker. The varieties planted - Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot - were determined by the types that had been historically grown successfully with good exposure in the higher elevations of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and, admittedly, our love of the French archetypes of these wines. The Cabernet was planted on a slope that faces almost due south, the Merlot to the west of this where it gets more of the northwest marine influence and so is somewhat cooler, and the Chardonnay on a slope facing southwest. Of equal if not greater importance than exposure is the elevation: our vineyards are above one thousand feet which is the boundary between the cold air in the valley and the warmer air in the thermal belts above. Since the vineyards came into full production we have made wine only from our own grapes. Having this one source, which we control down to the smallest detail, has provided an opportunity to perfect wine making to a degree that is rarely possible. Our production is very limited - typically we make fewer than four hundred cases per year. The Chardonnay is cold fermented using slow acting yeasts, then moved into a combination of new and one year old French oak for aging. It is racked often during the first six months in order to bring out as much varietal fruit as possible. In this sense it is unlike most California Chardonnays being made today: by not aging sur lees, we enhance the fruit and play down the buttery flavors. It receives a light (5 micron) filtration. The Cabernet/Merlot is fermented in small lots at relatively low temperatures, as we prefer elegance to extracted tannins. It is neither fined nor filtered. After the wines have been in the barrel the desired amount of time - six to eight months for the Chardonnay, eighteen to twenty-four months for the Cabernet - they are held in stainless steel before bottling, then given an additional aging in the bottle before release.


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1300 Hopkins Gulch Road, Boulder Creek, CA, US, 95006 Email:
Phone: 831-338-4346 Web:
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  Cabernet Sauvignon
Each vintage has its own particular identity, and in 2001 we found the Cabernet to be so rich - it was picked on October 6, at 25 degrees brix - we decided to blend less Merlot. The final ratio, 88% Cabernet, 12% Merlot, was decided upon after tasting trials in the spring of '04. Initially, the grapes were fermented in small lots at cool temperatures for eight days, punched down by hand six times a day. They were then gently pressed and aged for 22 months in thin-stave French oak (60% new). The wine has been neither fined nor filtered. This vintage produced a full-bodied wine with intense cassis/berry-like fruit, elegant tannins, and subtle, mocha-like flavors imparted by the oak. While wonderfully accessible even at this point, the wine will, like all our Cabernets, peak in three to four years, then ride a fine aging plateau. .
This was another exceptional year, and the new millennium appears to be off to a spectacular start. The Chardonnay was picked on September 28, at 25 degrees brix, T.A. .85. As usual with our Chardonnay, the wine was cold fermented with seclected yeasts for the first, active phase, then moved to new and one year old French oak, all of which is coopered in the Cote de Nuit from three-year air dried wood. During the fall the wine was racked several times as we do not like the overly buttery flavors imparted by sur lies aging. After 10 months in French oak, and another 10 months in stainless steel, it was bottled in the spring of 2004. This vintage has produced a big, very accessible wine that displays strong varietal fruit flavors, emphasizing the citrus/melon spectrum, with suggestions of caramel and vanilla imparted by the oak. There is an excellent balance of clean, fresh fruit, oak, and mouth-filling richness. And, as with all our Chardonnays, it will age for many years.


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