Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 26, 2021

2020 Desire Lines Wine Co, Evangelho Red Wine, Contra Costa County.
This wine, by Cody Rasmussen at Desire Lines Wine Co, is an inky purple joy in the glass with a deep dark berry and peony nose inviting you in and a full bodied old vine Carignan led palate to complete the seduction of your senses showing crushed blackberries, juicy plum, black cherry jam and tangy currant fruits that are accented by a touch of ground pepper, dried sage, cedar and a hint of minty herb. The texture is round, smooth and supple, making for an easy quaffer, but with with a nice sense of energy and a little bit of crunch from the use of partial whole bunches that gives just the right amount of earthiness and mineral tones. For those that love Zin and or Grenache, you’ll be thrilled with this wine that was made from 90% Old Vine Carignan and 10% Mourvedre sourced from the historic Evangelho Vineyard set on the deep sandy soils of the Contra Costa region. Rasmussen, who is the assistant winemaker at Morgan Twain-Peterson MW’s Bedrock Wine Company, is one of top rising stars in the state and his and his wife Emily’s Desire Lines Wine Co is crafting an stellar set of limited edition wines, including this one that is fast becoming one of my favorites, as well as two signature Syrah bottlings, one from the Shake Ridge Ranch in Amador and the other from Griffin’s Lair in the Petaluma Gap, both of which are outstanding efforts, along with a fantastic Dry Riesling, as well as a few other specialties. This wine is expressively Californian, but my old world wine drinking friends will see a similarity to some French country wine classics, especially those that drink Corbieres, with this vintage really proving the same sort of thrill that I find in the gorgeous and slightly rustic Maxime Magnon wines, in particular his “Campagnès,” which is from a single vineyard of the hundred-year-old Carignan. I love this tasty Evangelho Red, it is an awesome value too and it goes great with the Fall season and robust cuisine.

The Evangelho Vineyard now over 120 years old, as mentioned here, is now owned by Cody’s boss Morgan Twain-Peterson and Chris Cottrell of Bedrock Wine Co. was originally planted by Manuel Viera back in the 1890s and mainly farmed by Frank Evangehlo and his family for most of its storied history. The vines are located in Antioch just a mile upstream from the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and only a few hundred yards south of the water’s edge. These old vines, Cody explains, are planted on what could be considered coastal dunes comprised of weathered granitic sand blown and washed out of the Sierra Nevada over millennia. This is one of the most unique terroirs in California with its ultra depleted, well draining heavy Oakley sand, this soil type is termed Delhi sand and it has protected and comfortingly wrapped these wines to perfection, making for some spectacular wines, like this one and the Heritage Red from his boss at Bedrock. Rasmussen says the 2020 Evangelho Red Wine sits between the zesty 2018 and (modestly) richer 2019, stylistically and is linear and fresh like the 2018, but a touch silkier on the palate, with a hint of the fruit sweetness and youthful exuberance that characterizes the 2019 version. The Evangelho red wine was fermented with 30% whole cluster under a submerged cap and aged for ten months in neutral 400L Puncheons ( used French big barrels), that Cody loves for his Carignan. He adds that these bigger casks retain freshness and purity and builds tension like all large format barrels, but with a less reductive tendency than the 500L and 600L barrels that he prefers for his awesome Syrahs and his small lot Bandol like Mourvèdre. The Carignan, according to Rasmussen, gives the wine a singular juiciness and floral and red-fruit aromas, with a soft tannin profile and vibrant acidity, which I certainly agree with and his inclusion of cluster as noted above, delivers spice to the nose, while the small portion of carbonic maceration and Mourvèdre add flesh to this delicious stuff.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive