Merry Christmahannukwanzaamas

Ahhh….the holiday season, the perfect time for hedonistic indulgence, reconnecting with friends and family and dipping into the cellar for some of those special wines you have been holding on to waiting for the right occasion.  While blowing off the dust on those hidden treasures lets consider just what we should expect from some of these wines.

A regular question we as producers hear is “how long should I hold onto this bottle?”.  A simple question with an answer that is more complicated than you can possibly imagine.  This simplest answer is there is no one answer to this question.  There is no blanket strategy that can encompass every wine for every person.  As the science of winemaking has evolved, the predictability of wine quality in the short term has increased dramatically.  At every level, from the budget oriented white zinfandel to the credit card scarring first growth wines overall quality has never been better.  That is not to say that wines are better, only that the incidence of flawed wines has been reduced.

So, how do we evaluate the age-worthiness of wine?  Wine, like art or like music is essentially a personal preference, and before we go any further let me say that from experience I have discovered that MOST people actually do not prefer older wines.  Right there lies the key….older wines.  Aging in wines is like aging in people, where each phase has its advantages for certain circumstances, but no one moment is the universally most appealing for everyone.  That being said I will offer up some simplistic outlines that have served me well.

I will start with new world light and bright white wines focusing on Sauvignon Blanc.  The winemakers of the world for the most part have crafted these in a style that is generally intended to be enjoyed sooner rather than later.  Sauvignon Blanc can move swiftly through the process, can be harvested in August/September (in the northern hemisphere), and can be bottled and released by February/March the following year.  The resulting wine is bright and vivacious, with clear, fresh citrus characteristics and crisp acidity as evidenced in the trend of the “New Zealand” style.  The winemakers have designed these to be ready to go on release, and by design most of these wines are crafted in a manner that is unlikely to improve with time.  For these, the key element becomes “how long can this wine maintain maximum quality before it becomes compromised by time?”.  My experience has been that most of these wines have a 3-4 year threshold where they are at their best.  That threshold is 3-4 years from RELEASE date and not necessarily the vintage date on the bottle.  With very few exceptions, winemakers are hesitant to release white wines before their time as the consumer public has that instant gratification expectation with their white wines.  So, the average bottle of 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was probably released in early 2015, meaning it should still be OK through early 2019.

What will happen with this wine over time is it will ripen somewhat like a banana.  If you are like me, I only eat my bananas when they still have some green to the skin and the flesh is firm and a little less sweet, the equivalent of a young and tart wine.  In the aging process of the wine, that 4 year old Sauvignon Blanc is developing those brown freckles of a banana that are an indication of maximum ripeness where soon after they will start to turn brown and the flesh will become somewhat mushy.  For the wine, when it reaches that ripeness phase it will have lost some of its acidity and started to take on different fruit tones, changing from that bright lemon/lime grassiness phase, to a softer sweet lemonade effect texturally.  The color will start to change from a vibrant clear straw tinted color to a more golden state.  It bears mentioning that many consumers may really enjoy the transition phase before the wine starts to fade, so do not be afraid to embrace the richer tones before it all goes over the hill.

There are exceptions to every rule, and I have experienced some magnificent aged white Bordeaux blends and Alsatian wines that were truly incredible, but these are the exception rather than the rule.  So for this type of wine, err towards the side of youth and enjoy them sooner rather than later.  It bears noting that this rule will ring true for most of the wines released and readily available today.  More on this next time.

Let’s have some fun

It’s a fine day at Ektimo…..

The excitement of crush is over and all the wines are well on their way to becoming incredible future releases.  As we launch a brand new blog to share the joys of wine, we hope you will join us on this journey to enlightenment down the path of irreverence to a place of hedonistic indulgence. Wine all too often is over analyzed, over judged and over adulated and in doing so we lose the unadulterated pleasures that wine has to offer.

So……the next time you reach for some wine, ponder first the container.  As you even think about this, no doubt your mind wanders to some gorgeous crystal globe with a stiletto stem that glistens in the sunlight that beckons your like a sultry temptress.  Perfect…..but wait…..does the vessel change the contents?  Well Georg Josef Riedel would have you believe so, but in reality, the container does not have an enormous impact on the FLAVOR of the wine.  The size and shape of the vessel can have an impact on a variety of elements that can affect the wine, but as long as the vessel is inert and clean it will not have a large impact on the FLAVOR of the wine.  Yes, a large globe will allow you to animate the wine by swirling and in doing so begin to aerate the wine and release some of the esters into the semi contained empty space in the glass which will increase the impact of how you might experience the aromatics of the wine.  The aromas do not change in that glass, they simply make your ability to experience them a little easier.  Pour that same wine into a fine porcelain tea cup and get your nose right next to the wine and you will still get to enjoy those same aromatics.  Hold your nose to the neck of the freshly opened bottle and you will also capture the aromas of the wine, it’s just a little harder.

The same holds true for the drinking of the wine.  Sure…..you will hear that the shape of the glass determines the delivery trajectory of the wine to the taste sensors in a selective cascade of perfect sequence to best enjoy a particular wine……really?  When was the last time you tried to consume any product by targeting specific parts of your tongue while relegating others.  The plain and simple truth is that to fully experience all the flavors of the wine, you should try to get that delectable nectar to reach for each and every taste bud you have at your disposal, and then have those taste buds communicate with your brain so that you can deliberately seek out the sensations that are occurring during this wine/taste-bud tango.  As you swallow enjoy the sensation as the wine reaches back into your olfactory passages with its final echo as it teases you with even more nuances before leaving you wanting more.  Then and only then will you enjoy the full impact of what the wine has to offer.

So…..whether you enjoy your wine from a Riedel superleggero or an old fruit jar, a Chihuly goblet or a Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica Teacup, enjoy the vessel, but it is merely the delivery system for what you want.

Tip of the day, when wine tasting there is one very important place to start……..do not miss your mouth!  Tastings get messy when they do not go where you want them to go.  Have some fun with your wine, and I will be back with more soon.

Cheers, Julius

Barrel Tasting all March long!

Barrel tasting continues at Ektimo Vineyards all month long.  We have been receiving magnificent reviews for our futures offerings, and both our Russian River Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Zinfandel are extremely limited.  Less than 200 cases of each, and for a limited time up to 50% off regular price on these incredible wines.  Get yours now.  Call us at 707-827-3008, email sales@ektimowines.com, or come on by in person to sample the wines and secure your supply.

Winter Wineland + Winery Happenings!

Greetings to all of our readers! We hope you are keeping warm this winter. We are doing our best over here at Ektimo but lately we’ve been having to break out the Gore-Tex more often than the Down! Sonoma County has experienced a total of 10.87 inches of rain this month of January alone which is a TON considering that in 2015 our total rainfall for the entire year was just 12.09 inches! And while the floods have been pretty wild, it does feel good to be out of the drought.

Even with all of the rain, January has been good to us and we had a ball last weekend participating in Wine Road’s 6th Annual Winter Wineland event. What a fun way to take our minds off of the winter blues and to come together for a glass (or shall I say, a few glasses) of wine!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

January also brought news of the results from the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in which Ektimo received fantastic results including three Gold medals and one Silver! Huge thanks and congrats to our wonderful winemaker, Lisa, and her team Zac, Silvano & Ivan! The results are as follows:

2013 Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Gold

2014 Russian River Valley Zinfandel – Gold

2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Gold

2015 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc – Silver

Coming up in February, we have our first Wine Club release of 2017! If you are not already a member, feel free to sign up any time to receive our bi-annual shipments at 20% off and special accommodations upon visiting the winery!

Stay tuned for more updates as we gear up for a fun event season – kicking off on February 11th for our annual Sweet 116 Event with Taste Route 116! Ticket purchase includes a hand painted wine glass by local artists, wine tastings at all 12 participating wineries, and a bite to eat at each! See tasteroute116.com for more details & ticket sales.

Happy Holidays!

Greetings from Ektimo!

We hope you are all having a beautiful December! Here in Sonoma County we are gearing up for winter as the temperatures drop and the rain comes to visit a little more frequently… Nonetheless, there is never a bad time to visit Sonoma as its beauty boasts something unique no matter the time of year – and we have some fun events planned for the coming months! Join us and and WINE ROAD for the 25th Anniversary of Winter WINEland the weekend of January 14 & 15. Each winery will be showcasing a selection of vintages, varietals or verticals to make for a one of a kind experience along with cozy winter decorations and fun vibes all around! More event information and ticket sales can be found on the Wine Road website.

On February 11th, our beloved Taste Route 116 will be hosting its annual Sweet 116 to celebrate Valentine’s Day where participating wineries will offer yummy bites and treats to go with a selection of featured wines! You do not want to miss out on this event! More information can be found on the Taste Route 116 website or see our “Events” Page.

Wishing everyone a warm and lovely holiday! Just a reminder that Ektimo will be closed December 24-26. We’ll see you when we get back, but in the meantime, we’ll leave you with some photos from recent happenings in the tasting room including our Wine Club Appreciation Day!


2016 Wine and Food Affair November 5th & 6th

*Ektimo invites you to join them at the 2016 Wine & Food Affair *

Join Ektimo and fellow Wine Road wineries for a fun-filled weekend in the Dry Creek, Alexander, and Russian River Valleys November 5th & 6th!

Each participating winery will offer a favorite winery recipe available online, which they will offer both days of the event to pair with one of their favorite wines! This year, Ektimo will be offering Bratwurst Slider Sandwiches to pair with our award winning 2013 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel! Stop on in for a wine tasting and the perfect food pairing – it is sure to be a fun-filled weekend! Tickets for the event may be purchased online via the Wine Road Website.

https://www.wineroad.com/events/wine-food-affair/

Here, you can also find out more about other participating wineries, what recipes each location will be offering, and various program details. Wishing everyone a happy fall and we look forward to seeing you here! Ektimo’s outdoor picnic area is the perfect setting for relaxing with a glass of wine and a small bite! We’ll have everything here waiting for you!img-tasting img_2345

Winding Down!

Happy October from everyone here at Ektimo Vineyards! We are enjoying these crisp mornings and are definitely excited to announce things are finally starting to calm down a bit here in the cellar! This year’s harvest has been busy but the fruit is absolutely fantastic and we are so excited for the wines to come out of this 2016 vintage!! Between the perfect weather we had during harvest and the moderate yield from the vines – we are getting some big, vibrant fruit flavors that will make for a really authentic expression of the grapes in this year’s vintage.

Shout out to our amazing winemaking crew – Lisa, Zac, Ray & Ivan for working countless hours this season (and it’s still not quite over). You guys are what makes this place tick  and we don’t know where we’d be without you!
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100 Tons and counting…!

Hello from harvest! The clan has been busy, busy here as today we have officially hit 100 tons of fruit and counting! And we’re nowhere near done… Between our custom crush clients and our own grapes, the crew will be working nonstop processing grapes for another couple of weeks. Be sure to stop by the winery and have a look at all of the excitement! On the upside, however, all of these punchdowns are paying off – take a look for yourselves! (Sorry everyone, they’re all taken…)

musclesIn the meantime… make sure you are following us on social media @ektimovineyards to stay in on the action as we continue with this year’s harvest season!

Fall is coming!

Happy September from Ektimo Vineyards! It was a bit cooler than usual this August so although we got a tiny glance at harvest a few weeks ago, we’ve all been anxiously waiting to make our next move. And while I am so happy to have had all of my winemaking friends at my disposal for a few extra weekends, I think everyone is ready for things to get started!

In the meantime, we’ve been keeping busy with company bbqs, tour groups and events! Big shout out to Getaway Adventures for stopping by with some stellar people this past Saturday! We had a blast. Here are a few shots of what’s been going on here at Ektimo… Happy Labor Day Weekend!
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A lovely bunch enjoying some #roseallday in the Saturday Sun! (Left)

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Meet some of our winemaking team! (Right) Clockwise from left: Silvano, Cellarhand; Ivan, Enologist; Zac, Cellar Master; Uncle, General Manager; Ray, Cellarhand

The fruit is here!

Hi all, greetings from Ektimo Vineyards!

This past weekend we received our first load of fruit for Ross Road Custom Crush and boy was it tasty! The first grapes to come in were Sauvignon Blanc and we are very excited to get this season started. Stop by the winery to get in on the action with an insider’s look at this season’s crush! Between the press, tanks and barrels we welcome you to join us for what is guaranteed to be a unique and educational experience. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few photos of our goofy staff and custom crush clients having fun on the job last week!

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*Reminder: This Saturday, August 20th, we will be closed from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM for a private event.

Interested in planning your next event with us at Ektimo? Our ample outdoor area is perfect for events outside as we gear up for everyone’s favorite fall season! Contact the winery for details. 211