Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 13, 2020

2018 Desire Lines Wine Co., Mourvedre, Experimental Series No. 2, Fred’s Home Block, Del Barba Vineyards, Contra Costa County.
The latest Desire Lines Wine Co. wines are stunning and I love this 100% Mourvedre Experimental Series No. 2, of which only about 65 cases were made from seriously old vines in Contra Costa. Winemaker Cody Rasmussen, who’s, as mentioned, is the assistant winemaker at Morgan Twain-Peterson MW’s Bedrock Wine Co. in Sonoma, is one of the rising talents of the California wine scene and his wines are all stunning, especially his Syrah bottlings and this one too. Rasmussen explains his “Fred’s Home Block” old vine Del Barba Mourvèdre is from a small parcel of vines planted back in the 1880s in Oakley on the classic delta sand. The vineyard, as he adds, was for many years a core piece of the Bonny Doon Cigare Volant, plus Randall Grahm’s Old Telegram (Mourvedre) and for good reason, as the wines were incredible, that I agree with having being a fan of those wines for a long time. Cody notes that these vines are planted on the eastern edge of the Oakley Sands just three miles east of the famed Evangelho Vineyard, which he knows well as it is now owned by Twain-Peterson and is one of the top sites used in their Bedrock lineup as well as providing Rasmussen with some awesome Carignane. Rasmussen is finding some great vineyard sites to make wine from, all done in tiny lots and with extreme care to provide quality and site expression, which this wine shows, this is top notch and a fun filled offering.

The 2018 vintage is bursting with energy and dark fruits with lovely purple/garnet color in the glass and has an array of spices and light mineral tones, showing a Bandol like character, but with smooth California textures and warmth. The Experimental Series No. 2 Fred’s Home Block delivers expressive red vine berries, bright, but sweet cherry, dusty plum and tangy currant jam along with earthy notes, savory elements, that mentioned spicy edge and wild herbs, adding faint leather, dried flowers, anise and cedar when this awesome Mourvedre opens up. Rasmussen continues to be inspired in his winemaking practices by the old world, but is very precise and clean in his methods, employing what he’s learned over the last few vintages, this wine was fermented with 30% whole cluster for 30 days in tank, which is close to twice as long as some of his other wines and then the Fred’s Home Block was raised in a single neutral French oak 600L barrel. This Mourvedre really captivates in the mouth and provides tons of pleasure, in joins some very intriguing versions of this grape, like Ian Brand’s Enz Vineyard and Dirty and Rowdy’s many examples, and this Desire Lines Wine Co. expression is wonderful with food, especially rustic country dishes. There’s a lot of value and thrills in Rasmussen’s latest stuff, I highly recommend joining their mailing list and take advantage of getting some of these limited releases.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive