TORREY HILL Vineyard
Torrey Hill Vineyard is our estate pinot noir vineyard. Located in the Russian River Valley, this vineyard has a long and storied history. Previously named Two Sisters Vineyard, the date of the original planting remains something of a mystery. Some claims date the first vines to 1953-1955, but it’s more likely to have been planted in the late 1960′s. The mix of old vine Martini clone and 667 elicit robust red fruit with spice characteristics. Decades of maturity increase the finesse and nuance of the finished wines. We acquired this vineyard in 2012, but the beauty of the fruit speaks to 40+ years of development.
The name “Torrey” pays homage to the Torrey Pine, a rare, endangered tree species found exclusively in our native La Jolla. It also just happens to be the mighty mascot of our high school alma mater, La Jolla Country Day School. We met there in 10th grade, and yes, we were an undeniably cool bunch of fighting trees!
In 2015, we embarked on a major replanting project. Interspersing nearly 2000 new vines with the old growth, we are re-training Torrey Hill with Guyot canes and tight, Burgundy-inspired 3x4 spacing. If you don’t speak “farmer,” this means more fruit…in like 5 years.
Gap's Crown vineyard
Harkening back to the 2009 vintage, the Gap’s Crown Vineyard is our oldest vineyard partner. We are proud to designate Gap’s Crown on our label since it’s our golden ticket into Sonoma’s most preeminent winemaking club. Every year I jockey for additional rows and plead for more fruit. Every year I am denied but green-lighted for my small, protected allocation. You see, I’m a favorite of the vineyard crew. (Go ahead. Ask them about my homemade cupcakes. Oh yes. At Bruliam Wines we believe in bribes. Edible bribes). Nestled at the confluence of Sonoma Mountain and the Petaluma Wind Gap, Gap’s Crown vineyard is the apotheosis of Sonoma Coast fruit. Loamy soil and rocky, hillside terrain promote drainage and moderates yield. Coastal fog from San Pablo Bay keeps grapes cool while the Wind Gap breezes mitigate airflow. The grapes ripen slowly and beautifully, with a gorgeous core of bright berry fruitfulness. Viticulture is postcard perfect, and the view is worth a million bucks (or lots more, according to the gent who owns it).
They may not have solved world hunger, but they have made this world a more delectable place. From the famous team that put Santa Lucia Highlands on every pinot pimp’s map, from the duo that made “Garys’” and “Rosella’s” household names among cork dorks worldwide comes another Pisoni-Franscioni collaboration. Magnum roll, please. Nestled in the heart of Santa Lucia Highlands, Soberanes Vineyard is smack next door to Garys’. Cooled by Monterey County’s morning costal fog and brisk afternoon breezes, these pampered pinot grapes are farmed with great care and love. The Pisoni and Franscioni families have been farming Salinas Valley for three generations. Nobody does SLH better. We are honored to work with such dedicated farming families. Known for rich, bold berry flavors and what Brian calls, “that spicy-leathery-earthy-stuff,” SLH pinot noirs are unapologetically Californian. And sensational. And crazy delicious. (Don’t you wish you had my job?).
SANGIACOMO roberts road VINEYARD
We spent a lot of time trying to get our hands on this fruit. We first tasted a Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard pinot noir at a local event called “Pigs and Pinot.” It was love at first sip (the pig notwithstanding). Two years after our first e-mail request, Mike Sangiacomo finally had fruit for Bruliam Wines- a mixture of Pommard and 115 clones. And we couldn’t be happier with this partnership. Planted in 1998, this Robert’s Road vineyard was transformed from an open field to premium pinot noir by a farming family with a reputation for excellence. The soil is well drained and requires no amendments. It’s the first vineyard in the Petaluma Wind Gap to see morning fog, and it’s the last to clear. The fruit ripens slowly, almost 2 full weeks after Gap’s Crown. This ensures complete phenolic ripeness without spiking sugar. This is cool climate pinot in its prime. A tribute to generations past and generations to come, Sangiacomo Vineyard is 100% sustainably farmed, certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
ROCKY RIDGE VINEYARD
The rumors are true. I stalked the Mauritson family for months to secure this fruit. It was a full time job. There are lots of them. This family has been procreating in Sonoma County since the 19th century. Rockpile: you all know the facts. Elevation. Fog inversion from Lake Sonoma. Rocky, inhospitable soil. Dry farmed. Low yielding. Intense fruit. A Zinfandel like no other. Bruliam’s ¾ acre parcel is known as “Swale Block.” Chris looked grim when I asked to rename it “Thank-God-You-Finally-Sold-Me-Rockpile-Zin” block. So “Swale Block” stuck. I keep baking Chris’ wife biscotti, so he’s promised me Swale Block fruit for as long as I want to buy it. A handshake deal on a forever lease. That’s just how we like to do business at Bruliam.
I met Mrs. Charlie Heintz before meeting Charlie. Pouring my pinot alongside Mrs. C.E. Heintz, I struck up an easy conversation. It went something like this: “Hi. I’m Kerith, the winemaker- and a working mom.” To which she replied, “Oh, I’m a working mom, too.” So I quipped, “Well, I have three kids.” Without missing a beat she retorted, “Oh really? I have three kids, including 8 year old twins.” Huh? Wait a minute. I did a double take. Yup, turns out we both have fraternal twin girls, same age. Now our girls are in the same class, like double double trouble. And just like that, I won a spot in the coveted “Heintz Friends and Family” program. The first time Charlie rolled up in his custom aquamarine Peterbilt to deliver my chardonnay, my incredulous colleagues crumpled. One after another opined, “How the hell did you get 1.3 tons of Heintz chard? I have been on the wait list for 10 years...” Well, I’ve had twin girls for 12. This appears to be the only tangible perk .