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May 2005

“Eric Sussman’s inaugural collection of 2002s was one of the best new sets of wines I tasted last year, and his performance in the more challenging 2003 season indicates that he’s for real.Sussman has produced the same set of bottlings as in 2002 but will have some new offerings in 2004, a vintage he described as even hotter than 2003.Sussman usually pays his suppliers by the acre or by the vineyard block, rather than by volume of fruit, and pays extra for extra work, such as additional passes through the vineyards to eliminate less-ripe fruit. “I’m all about site expression but I don’t own any land,” he said.Sussman picks his pinot fruit cool, then chills the grapes further and protects them with CO2.They remain on their skins for about three weeks, including a seven-to-ten-day cold soak and a good week or so following the end of the actual fermentation.The malos are generally late (he does not inoculate for either the alcoholic or the secondary fermentation), and the wines are racked for the first time in July, and then again for the bottling.Happily for consumers, Sussman’s production will rise from 1,450 cases in 2003 to 2,800 in 2004.”

–M. Potashnik and D. Winkler
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