The new gem we discovered at Pinot Days 2012 was Bruliam Wines, a winery that released their first wine in 2008. These folks were pouring three excellent pinot noirs.
Bruliam Wines was founded by Brian and Kerith Overstreet. As noted earlier, their first vintage was 2008. Kerith is the winemaker and chief blogger. The name “Bruliam” is intended to be the name of a new element. In fact, the winery’s slogan is “Wine is elemental.” But Bruliam is also a composite of the names of their three children: Bruno, Lily, and Amelia. The website is cute and personal:
“At Bruliam, we live the dream. We hang out in our yard, under a huge tree hugged by grapevines on all sides. We bake hot, homemade pizzas in a backyard pizza oven, surrounded by our family and friends who toast us with goblets of Bruliam vino. (Well…almost the dream. We’re still waiting for the pizza oven. And goblets we never got from the wedding registry. And some friends.)”
Bruliam advertises that 100 percent of their profits are donated to charity. I hope they keep enough to cover depreciation and replace aging equipment. Our prediction is that they will be around for quite a few years and should start planning ahead.
On to the wines. Bruliam was pouring three pinots, each selling for $46. The first, Deer Meadows Vineyard (Anderson Valley) was light and delicate. Opening with aromas of wild strawberries and the distinctive (albeit rare) rose petals. Flavors of cherry and raspberry, leading to a long finish of black cherries and cola. The Wildcat Mountain (Sonoma Coast) is heavier with black cherry, cola and light lilac scents. Flavors of sweet cherries are followed by a long, complex finish. Finally, the Soberanes Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands) has aromas of ripe plums and brambleberries. Multiple spices blend with blackberries in a full-bodied pinot.
The Winery’s Story
As told on the website:
“It’s tough to track our love affair with wine to a specific moment in time and place, but one of our earliest joint memories of wine dates back to the summer of 1994. Kerith had just graduated from Cornell and came out to visit me in Berkeley. We decided to take a day trip up to Napa where I planned on wooing her with a romantic picnic. We stopped at Mondavi because, candidly, that was the only winery I knew by name and sight along Highway 29. After we picked up a couple of bottles of their cheapest house red and some food from a now defunct, local deli, we started driving around looking for our ideal picnic spot. Before long I found a place with a big lawn, lots of shady trees, and no one in sight. We laid out the picnic, popped open the wine, and I proceeded to work my magic.
Apparently my “magic” wasn’t quite working that day since after a mere twenty minutes and a quarter of a bottle of wine, Kerith was already asleep. And right then it happened - a guy in a bathrobe and slippers sauntered by. I tried to ignore him as best as possible, but pretty soon similarly clad gentlemen were cruising by and around us, like we were living a scene out of The Twilight Zone. I woke Kerith, and we quickly packed up our picnic and climbed back in the car.
As we drove away, we noticed the sign that we had missed on our way in:
Napa State Hospital – Department of Mental Health
And thus began our crazy affair with wine. In the years since, we’ve had many wonderful wine experiences, some high brow and quite a few low brow. We’ve survived our cult-cab obsession of the dot-com boom, barreled through the barriques of Tuscany’s major Brunello labels, and enjoyed many an overpriced bottle of red Burgundy at top restaurants state-side. We’ve even volunteered for a blind tasting of box wines (paired, of course, with Frito casserole). Through it all, wine has become elemental, a part of our everyday life and a source of many cherished memories.”
Can’t top a story like that.
Please join us in welcoming Bruliam to the family of high-quality California pinot noir producers!