The husband and wife team of Tyler and Rachel Eck are a force to be reckoned with in the Central Coast. Though the 2021 vintage represents only their 7th making wine under their brand Dunites, the pair are far from newcomers on the scene.
Instead, they launched a side project as a couple in 2015 to create a brand focused on making “risky wines” – pure, unadulterated juice with whole cluster fermentation, minimal or no sulfur usage, light extraction by foot stomping, bottling without filtering and aging in neutral barrels to put forth the truest expressions.
None of which would be possible if their focus was anywhere other than the San Luis Obispo Coast. This wind-battered appellation at the very edge of where grapes can ripen, contains vineyards precariously perched on the first ridge of mountains off the pacific, allowing for super clean fruit with remarkable purity, low pH and crackling acidity.
Even though they’re both young, Tyler and Rachel account for over a dozen wine positions throughout multiple countries. Rachel, after a stint in NZ is a vineyard manager who works with some of the top wineries in California (Paul Lato/Stephen Ross) and Tyler’s the current associate winemaker at Fess Parker, after working at Peay Vineyards.
Dunites is only in its infancy, but the writing is already on the wall. They’re a smashing hit. Every vintage, they’re treated to a hit parade of big scores and lavish praise from some of the most respected wine critics in the world. Antonio Galloni has called their wines “stunning” and “simply brilliant” and literally couldn’t find enough positive things to say about today’s bottle.
95 Points, Vinous
The 2021 Syrah-Grenache is another fabulous wine from Tyler and Rachel Eck. Bright, savory, and vibrant, the 2021 bristles with energy from the get go. Lively acids run through a core of blue/purplish fruit, lavender, cloves and menthol. The 2021 is deep and full of flavor yet also light on its feet. Today, it is positively stellar.