Grapelive: Wine of the Day January 6, 2021

2019 Desire Lines Wine Co., Riesling, Cole Ranch Vineyard and AVA, Mendocino County.
The stunning dry mineral driven Riesling from Cody Rasmussen at Desire Lines Wine Co. is one of California’s best example of this grape, especially this 2019 vintage, which is beautifully bright, intense and expressively pure with an array of racy citrus, white blossoms, tangy apricot, wet stones, tart green apple skins, peach pit and a hint of pear butter on the brisk and zingy light bodied palate. Everything is alive in this fabulous golden pale hued Riesling, energized by its natural acidity and powered by its dry extract this wine will impress Riesling fans everywhere and its presence in the glass is both impactful and elegant, this is a wine of sublime form and balance that adds zest herbs, verbena, clove and ginger spices along with a fine aromatic sense with a light floral perfume and a flinty leesy note. Desire Lines wine Co. is a small husband and wife micro winery in Sonoma, own by winemaker Cody Rasmussen, assistant winemaker at Morgan Twain-Peterson’s awesome Bedrock Wine Company, and his wife Emily Rasmussen, focused on an awesome set of red wines with two of the state’s best Syrah(s), one from the fabled Shake Ridge Ranch in Amador County and the other from the Petaluma Gap’s Griffin’s Lair, as well as an old vine Carignan blend, a powerful Mourvedre and a unique Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, plus this not to be overlooked Dry Riesling. I’ve been a fan for a few vintages now and I like what I see and taste, this is a label you want to pay attention to, these wines are exceptional hand crafted and small lot efforts that are wonderfully complex and have incredible depth, and it must be noted, they are outrageous values too, I highly recommend getting on their mailing list as soon as possible, these wines are blowing up with enthusiasts, while still being maybe surprisingly a bit under the radar. Rasmussen’s time working with Morgan and Chris at Bedrock certainly shows in the fundamental structures and style in the Desire Lines Wine Co. bottlings, which is high praise, but they do offer Cody to chance to explore his own path and there is sense of this in his wines, especially these latest releases, it is a great time to explore them.

Cody has been working this special Cole Ranch site since 2016 and is himself a huge Riesling fan and loves this place and the quality of this cool climate vineyard really shines through in this 2019, as it did with a 2018, which was one of my favs of the year. Situated in a narrow valley, as Rasmussen notes, in the mountains between Boonville and Ukiah, the Cole Ranch is a monopole and a single-vineyard AVA, one of only a couple of sites in California, it comes with combination of complex California series of soils which transmits its terroir signature into the wine. The Riesling vines here, as Cody adds, were planted back in 1973 on St. George rootstock and are old school head-trained and dry-farmed, that means these old vines provide excellent concentration, moderate alcohol with full flavor development, as this brilliantly detailed wine displays in force. This 2019 Cole Ranch Riesling is joyfully playful and easy to quaff, but is also very serious stuff that goes great with a range of cuisines, very much like the best dry Rieslings of Alsace and Germany and reminds me somewhat of more intriguing examples of Aussie versions, like Jim Barry’s Lodge Riesling, Henschke, Polish Hill and Rolf Binder from the Eden and Clare Valleys as well as G. D. Vajra’s Riesling from Piedmonte Italy, another of my all time favorite Rieslings grown outside of France and Germany. It’s an exciting time for Riesling worldwide, but in particular in California and Oregon, which have in recent years really turned up the quality, with the wines of Desire Lines, Tatomer, Brooks, Joyce, Reeve, Morgan, Bedrock (Cody’s boss), Trisaetum, Stony Hill, Smith Madrone, Casa Nuestra and Cobb, to name a few, taking dry Riesling to the next level. This wine offers big time bang for the buck, and while its tiny production makes it difficult time find, you will be rewarded for your dogged pursuit in getting some. The 2018 and 2019 are similar, so be sure to grab either if you see them and of course don’t forget to score the Desire Lines wines along with these. I really put my money where my mouth was and bought a bunch for myself and opened this beauty last night with take away Sushi, and it was close to perfection as it gets and brought a heavenly lightness and soul refreshment to a mind burdened by the ongoing darkness of these times for which I am grateful for.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive