RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
This is where it all began – both for EK and for our family – starting with our wine country marriage ceremony at the vineyard in 2002. The next year in 2003, they supplied us with our first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit and we have been working with them ever since. We pull from four distinct blocks, each with unique clonal or geographic attributes. Join us for a barrel tasting in the spring before we assemble our blends, and we’ll be delighted to share the difference that clone and elevation can make in the wines.
Hillside Block: A small hill with Southwestern exposure, planted to Swan clone in 1989. This block ripens more quickly than the Bunkhouse Block due to greater sun and warmer air at night, and usually harvests somewhere from September 10-18, with brix in the 24-26 range. Yielding about 3 tons in an average year, the Hillside forms the backbone of our Stiling Vineyard Pinot, offering ripe fruit flavors and plenty of muscle. Typically a more full-bodied wine, this block does well with about 50% new oak at slightly higher toast levels.
Bunkhouse Block: Also planted to Swan, this block sits roughly 25 feet below the Hillside in a small trough. Less direct sun and a concentration of cooler air at night ripens the block more slowly every year, with harvest dates closer to September 15-25 and average brix from 23-25. Typically yielding 1.5-2 tons and often fermented with about 1/3 whole cluster, this block produces an earthier, more herbal wine that provides nuance, balance and acidity to our Stiling Vineyard designate. It has also been known to contribute to other blends, including Sascha Marie and Small Town. The Bunkhouse Block seems to do better with less oak and a subtler barrel selection in general.
Rued and Sees Blocks: Our two Chardonnay blocks sit on a flat middle section of the vineyard, just east and parallel to Vine Hill Road. Slightly eastern exposure moderates the temperature in this otherwise exposed section, leading to harvest dates toward the end of September or early October with brix usually around 22-24 at harvest. Both blocks are similar in aspect and the main difference is clonal, with the Rued tending to be floral, tropical and overtly fruity while the Sees offers more restrained apple and spice character. The Rued block gives us about 3 tons which form the basis of our Russian River Valley Chardonnay, while the Sees block yields under 2 tons, providing complexity in either our Russian River or Sonoma Coast appellation wines. Both blocks can be challenging to pair with the right oak; over the years we have reduced the amount of new wood and transitioned to tighter-grained and more gently toasted barrels.
SHIPMENTS TWICE A YEAR
Direct sales are allocated exclusively to EK Allocation List members at a 10% discount. Orders of 6+ bottles save an additional 50% off shipping. New releases ship twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.
You may customize your spring and fall allocations any way you like, from 0–12 bottles of each wine. (Small-lot and list-only wines will have lower limits.) To modify your allocations, click on MY ALLOCATION above.
Wines often sell out at or close to release, so we encourage making the most of your spring and fall allocations. As long as wine remains, you are welcome to reorder online through our EK Special Order store. Or contact John Gillis at email@example.com or 415.244.9453.