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Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 5, 2019

2017 Weingut Kunstler, Spatburgunder Trocken, Hochheim Reichestal, Grosses Gewächs, Rheingau Germany -photo grapelive

2017 Weingut Kunstler, Spatburgunder Trocken, Hochheim Reichestal, Grosses Gewächs, Rheingau Germany.
Known as one of the greatest dry Riesling estates of Germany Weingut Kunstler was founded in 1965 by Franz Kunstler when he re-established the Weingut Künstler in Hochheim Main/Rheingau after having to leave the east after WWII, but it wasn’t until In 1992 when his son Gunter took over the estate, that things started to happen and in 1994 the estate was admitted to the prestigious VDP with the wines beginning to show their true potential. Generally soils here nearer to Frankfurt in Hochheim am Main are loess, clay, sand, loam, marl and limestone and the climate more humid, which is not ideal for organic farming like Gunter prefers, but even so his wines are some of the most beautiful in Europe, and not just his Rieslings, and his wine like this GG Hochheim Reichestal Spatburgunder and his Assmannshausen GG are exceptional world class Pinots. In the last 15 years the quality of German Pinot Noir has risen to levels that has given the Burgundians something to think about, wines by F. Becker, Meyer-Nakel, Schlossgut Diel and Kunstler not only rival Grand Cru stuff, in some vintages they absolutely eclipse some of the legends of the Cote d’Or, I won’t name drop on big names that wish they were this good, but trust me this latest Kunstler is absolutely stunning! What stands out the most here is that it does have to try to hard and is not flashy at all it is just pure quality, that wonderfully transmits the soul of the vineyard, the VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Hochheim Reichestal, with its grace and seductive character, to near perfection.

This rich and silky Pinot is layered with delicacy and finesse showing pretty rose petals, subtle chalkiness and medium bodied palate of black cherry, crushed raspberry, strawberry and a hint of blueberry fruit along with a soft, almost, background smoky/toast, dried fig and earthy/loamy notes with everything seamless, but energetic and riveting throughout. Quite honestly, the savvy and gentle winemaking make this all the more impressive with the ever expanding mouth feel with its gorgeous fleshy red to black fruits and floral tones, with a touch of dried violets remind me of somewhere between Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanee, though distinctly German in its precision and controlled delivery. Though, I adore the slate driven Ahr and Assmannshausen versions with their more intense smoky sweet and flinty notes, this wine is just darn near perfect in its transparency and satiny lush form and the dreamy long finish, the care in the vineyard and the craftsmanship in the cellar really shines through and tells you a near perfect story of the vintage and the passion to make such a majestic wine. Kunstler’s cru Rieslings from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are all tantalizing wines, but this is a regal stuff that will reward the true Pinot fan, especially those that can lay a few down for 7 to 10 years! While this wine is priced in the league it plays in, you can also check out the village version, Kunstler’s Spatburgunder Tradition, at $40, it is also well worth checking out, it is a pretty wine that gives hints, and insights on Gunter’s class in the cellar.
($120 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 4, 2019

2018 Domaine Sigalas, Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece -photo grapelive

2018 Domaine Sigalas, Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece.
The renown Greek producer, Domaine Sigalas was founded in 1991 by Paris Sigalas, Christos Markozane and Yiannis Toundas and has been in family hands ever since and has become the standard of quality for Assyrtiko, the Greek isles signature white grape. Initially, Sigalas made his wine at the converted Sigalas family home, but according to their importer, Skurnik Wines, back in 1998 a new vinification, bottling and aging cellar was built in Oia, on the northern part of Santorini, which turned this winery from a small operation to a world class estate focused on the white wines of the region. Sigalas has been a pioneer in the organic viticulture on Santorini and has worked hard with the Greek government to push for strict certification and all sustainable practices and while traditional they use the latest in winemaking technology to create the freshest and purest Assyrtiko possible. Zest and vivid in character this wine does open to reveal a nice smooth leesy texture with layers of lemon/lime, white peach, quince and tropical fruits along with a striking mineral tone as well as a mouth watering saline note with a delicate floral sense and stony quality making for a white that can replace Muscadet, Sancerre, Albarino, Vermentino and or Gruner Veltliner on your table.

As mentioned, Sigalas concentrates on native grape varieties, working most closely with Assyrtiko, but also they have small plantings of Athiri, Aedani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. The grapes need to be trained close to the ground and wound in a circle to survive from the direct exposure of sun and strong winds, protected inside low-basket-shaped vines or “ampelies”, as they are called locally, referring to this unique pruning system. This Assyrtiko comes from vines located in Imerovigli, the sub-region of Oia Santorini, all Sigalas’s owned basket trained vines (Kouloura) that are on average 60 years old, and are tended in the classic black lava, volcanic ash and pumice soils. This elegant and cooly crisp white saw a fermentation and elevate in stainless steel tanks with controlled temperature with about 50% being free run juice using close 80% whole clusters that was slowly pressed and spent just 5 months on lees to preserve its zesty fresh detail. This is a great Indian Summer sipper and excellent with all sea food choices and a mix of cuisine from Morocco style Lemon Chicken and Couscous to briny oysters and or mussels in a spicy broth. Assyrtiko, like Vermentino and Gruner Veltliner, looks set for success in the new world, once only found in Greece, it is now doing well in Australia, especially Jim Barry’s beautiful example and I can imagine we’ll see a California version in the near future!
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 3, 2019

2018 Russell Joyce Small Lot Collection, Old Vines Grenache, Besson Vineyard, Central Coast -photo grapelive

2018 Russell Joyce Small Lot Collection, Old Vines Grenache, Besson Vineyard, Central Coast.
The exceptional new and upcoming release from Russell Joyce under his Small Lot Collection label is the fabulous 100% Old Vine Grenache that was fermented and aged in cement tank with a wildly perfumed, deeply hued and carbonic like character, it is a great follow to his incredible Gamay and Chenin Blanc offerings. The Grenache come from the historic Besson Vineyard in the Hecker Pass, a special place that lies just below the Santa Cruz Mountains and in between the San Benito and Santa Clara AVAs, it was planted on its own roots back in around 1910 and has been sustainably dry farmed ever since. This site first came to the wine world’s attention when California icon Randall Grahm used these grapes in his Clos de Gilroy Grenache, and more recently being used by Angela Osborne of Tribute to Grace, the Kiwi who is one of California’s top Grenache producers, as well as Grenache lover Ian Brand and John Locke of Birichino, another label that is making authentic versions of this vineyard, with Joyce joining that elite set with the wonderful 2018 vintage. Joyce’s version is unique in style, going the route of whole cluster, color extraction and the use of concrete in the fermentation, all of which Russell says was to get away from the strawberry and cotton candy notes that Grenache can develop and add savory (stem) excitement to the palate to tame the grape’s fruity nature and also stay away from wood influence, he uses only neutral French oak. All of which he achieved in this savvy Old Vine Grenache, it feels a bit like a Cru Beaujolais meets Gigondas with a medium/full body and while still youthful and bristling with energy it shows a pretty nose and has a pleasing fleshy texture showing dark berry, plum, pomegranate and tangy black cherry fruits along with a burst of carbonic tropical/exotic expression that is contrasted by zippy herbs, lavender/mint, pepper and crushed flowers.

There’s so much more to come here, it is somewhat difficult to give a clear picture yet, but this Old Vine Grenache that comes from vines grown on ancient alluvial deposits really opens up when given extended time in the glass and reveals hints of a great future ahead, this is impressive stuff that is sure to be a huge hit and sell out fast, so be sure to keep an eye out for its release. Russell Joyce who runs his own Joyce Wine Company, one of Monterey’s new stars, with a sublime series of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay has branched out in recent years adding fine dry Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Albarino to his lineup, as well as continuing to make a few Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon(s) from his father’s original home vineyard and from the Massa Estate, an organic vineyard known for quality, long lived wines since the 70’s when it was the old Durney Ranch. Last year, Russell started his Russell Joyce Small Lot Collection to explore exciting vineyards and varietals that were not exactly perfectly fitted to his main lineup, and produced one of the most thrilling examples of California Gamay Noir to date, along with the Old Vine Chenin Blanc, and now he has this Besson Grenache coming along with a second version of Grenache that has 25% Syrah added, which is also outstanding, plus this year he plans a full carbonic Trousseau! Monterey and San Benito counties are on fire right now with a new generation of winemakers and wines that are top notch, and these new Joyce wines are great additions, especially this Old Vine Besson Vineyard Grenache, it is a wine that should evolve over 5 to 10 years majestically, if you are patient rewards will be huge here, though I wouldn’t blame to to open this one earlier with its juicy/crunchy fruit and racy form making it hard to resist as is.
($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 2, 2019

2017 Rudi Pichler, Gruner Veltliner, Federspiel, Wachau, Austria -photo grapelive

2017 Rudi Pichler, Gruner Veltliner, Federspiel, Wachau, Austria.
The 2017 Rudi Pichler is a lovely white wine with a sense of ripe flavor(s) and brisk mineral character with nice fresh acidity lifting everything up and there is a real completeness here, making for a complex and satisfying Gruner. This Grüner Veltliner Federspiel, from Rudi Pichler, comes from vineyards on the valley floor, hillsides, and upper terraces set on the Wachau’s combination of Primary rock, Gneiss, and Loess soils. The term Federspiel is used by members of the Vinea Wachau indicating a dry wine between 11.5 and 12.5% alcohol, making it like a Kabinett Trocken in Germany, and similar to wines like Vinho Verde and Txakolina. This pretty and balanced Gruner from Pichler fills out nicely on the palate, which is light to medium bodied in feel with layers of lemon/lime, white peach, bosc pear and papaya fruits plus a touch of white pepper, almond oil, wet stones and tangy/bitter herb.

The Weingut Rudi Pichler, one of Austria’s most well known and great estates, consists of 37 acres that is spread between Wösendorf, Joching, and Weißenkirchen where south-facing terraces, with picturesque and perfect exposures that look down at the mighty blue Danube River, just west of Vienna. This 100% Gruner Veltliner was cold soaked on the skins for almost 6 hours before fermentation in stainless steel tanks, it comes from vines that range between 12 to 40 years old, and it is certified vegan for those that take note of such things, and it is aged in tank on the light lees for close to 7 months before bottling. This non malo, Gruner is stays bright and zippy in the glass with just a hint pf gold in its clear hue and it goes great with a mix of foods, though best with white fish dishes, soft cheeses and or oysters even. This vintage is perfect for people new to Gruner, its smooth and classic details gives a good insight into this signature varietal of Austria and it is easy to enjoy.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 1, 2019

2016 Arianna Occhipinti, Il Frappato, I.G.T. Sicilia, Italy -photo grapelive

2016 Arianna Occhipinti, Il Frappato, Terre SiciIiane I.G.T. Rosso, Sicily, Italy.
One of the wine world’s most exciting producers and wines, Arianna Occhipinti’s Il Frappato is a natural wine icon and her signature wine made from her estate vines in the Vittoria region of Sicily. The 2016 Il Frappato is exotically spiced and beautifully textured with intriguing complexity in a medium bodied red wine that shows lively layering with pretty floral notes, earthiness and a lovely texture. The nose starts with red berries, an interesting mix of wild herbs and Asian spice including hints of curry leading to a refined palate of raspberry, strawberry, plum and lingonberry fruits that feels silken, like Pinot, but still vividly terroir driven and unique to Occhipinti. Air brings things more together and adds a touch of mineral, kirsch, savory elements and a long echoing finish, this is a wine that thrills more with cuisine than on its own, though it is very flexible with food choices. Arianna, who is an artist and a poet when it comes to her wines, loves to quote verse like one of her favorites “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” a phrase by Saint-Exupery, she says it has inspired her and has always guided her efforts as winegrower.

The Frappato is grown on the red sandstone and chalky (limestone) soils that are the hallmark on this side of the Island at just under 900 feet of elevation with an average vine age of 40 years, which shows in the subtle concentration of flavors and the energy of holistic farming approach that Arianna employs. According to her cellar notes the Il Frappato sees a long maceration with 50 days of skin maceration, with 100% indigenous yeasts for fermentation with absolutely no additions or manipulation and very low sulfur if any. The is always a charm and personality that mirrors Occhipinti in her wines, they are singular and authentic without flashy adornment, like this dark ruby/garnet Il Frappato that shows ultra transparency, coming from traditional aging, it saw 14 months in large neutral Slovenian Oak barrels. The unfiltered and all organic Il Frappato, that comes in at 13% natural alcohol, like Cru Beaujolais, really turns on the detail with a slight chill in glass and can be enjoyed with a range of dishes, this is hard stuff to find, but should not be missed when available! Occhipinti started making wine professionally at the age of 21 and even before that it was always in her dreams, and her wines reflect her hard work, her respect for her land and ancestors and each vintage brings more to the table for us to cherish.
($38 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Classic Flashback, Monday Sept. 30, 2019

1976 Weingut Fritz Haag – Ferdinand Haag Erben, Riesling Beerenauslese, Brauneberger Mondelgroben, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany -photo grapelive

1976 Weingut Fritz Haag – Ferdinand Haag Erben, Riesling Beerenauslese, Brauneberger Mondelgroben, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany.
What an amazing treat to try the 1976 Beerenauslese from Fritz Haag, and even this was a less than perfect bottle, it was absolutely gorgeous and still fresh and graceful, losing sweetness and picking up the legendary complexity of pedigreed handcrafted sweet wine and showing a light Botrytis honeycomb and trufflely earthiness. The terrifyingly steep Brauneberg hillside has been revered as a top vineyard site since the Romans first cultivated wine grapes in the Mosel valley. In their day it was called “dulcis mons,” which is Latin for “sweet mountain” is home to Fritz Haag, one the Central Mosel’s finest wine estates known for their amazing long lived Riesling grown on pure slate soils. This Beerenauslese comes from the Brauneberger Mondelgroben cru, a lower parcel with a slightly more humid condition that promotes noble rot in some years, though is now rarely used as a single site bottling, which was brought to my attention by a collector of fine Germany wines. This 1976 gives a star performance in the glass with a golden/amber hue and lovely nose of wilted roses, salted caramel, autumn leaves, clove and dried honey with tangerine, baked apricot, lemon curd, crystalized ginger, chamomile tea, wild mushrooms and apple butter. The texture is dreamy smooth, and while sweet and concentrated it is graced with a remarkable lift of acidity still pumping energy through this well balanced old Riesling.

The historic Fritz Haag wine estate is located in the heart of Germany’s middle Mosel River Valley, where it is known for its classic and traditional Riesling wines in Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese levels, while most recently they added a dry GG from their top Grand Cru vineyard. The earliest documentation of the estate, according to Haag’s importer the Loosen Bros., dates back to 1605 when the local village was known as “Dusemond.” Though, like in Burgundy, In 1925, this village was renamed “Brauneberg” (“brown mountain,” a reference to the color of the slate soil in this area of the Mosel) in an endeavour to further promote the reputation of its world-renowned vineyards “Brauneberger Juffer” and “Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr.” The Loosen’s add, that this excellent micro-climate and the deep slate soils of the Brauneberg hillside yield some of the most intensely flavored and elegantly-structured Riesling wines of the Mosel region, which after having this and many other of Haag’s wines over the years has convinced me of the greatness here, having loved Fritz’s wines and in modern times, since the 2005 vintage, his son Oliver’s fine examples. Sadly, with climate change and modern tastes, these kind of wines are getting scarce, and that it why finding them is a treasure, I am thrilled and grateful to have enjoyed a nice pour of this delicious slightly waxy nectar.
($N/A) 96 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 30, 2019

2016 Roald Wine Company, Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast -photo grapelive

2016 Roald Wine Company, Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast.
The beautiful Roald Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is one of the brand new set of wines from winemaker Greg Nelson, who gained experience in both the cellar and the lab at multiple wineries, after moving to Sonoma, including legends Ramey and Martinelli, and he also assisted with the founding Conarium Wines before starting his solo effort label Roald Wine Company. This 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay comes from hillside fruit that is grown on a mountain vineyard that overlooks the Petaluma Wind Gap, where, according to Nelson, they are constantly bathed in a gentle sea breeze. The cool coastal weather allows for a long hang time and the development of complexity in the grapes, which this lovely Chardonnay shows with a concentration of flavors that explode on the medium/full bodied palate. Layered and toasty this 2016 is hitting a really good point of youthful freshness and depth with apple, pear and lemon fruits leading the way with a tough of honeysuckle, vanilla, pie crust, clove and key lime. The coastal influence and maritime climate helps acidity along the unique semi-volcanic soils that includes a unique deposit of petrified wood adds a sense of spice and mineral intensity.

Nelson was born in Indiana and went to high school in New York State near Buffalo. While attending college in Madison, Wisconsin, he frequented a wine shop where he was introduced to wines from Europe and California. He developed a passion for wine, but started first in Biology, getting a PhD in the field at UC San Diego, where he also discovering the sweet taste receptor and the umami taste receptor, earning many accolades and scientific awards like being a Beckman Scholar with the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, a Hewitt Fellowship, and publication in leading scientific journals! Greg, recently started the Roald label, which is named for his father who he admired greatly and was responsible for his interest in the sciences and heavily influenced him with a positive outlook, a quest to be the best he could be and a calm methodical approach to like and it’s opportunities. Well priced for the quality and style with good racy energy this barrel fermented and aged Chardonnay is everything it is supposed to be and more, drink it now and over the next 2 to 5 years and with roast chicken, soft cheeses and or richer sea food, fish and lobster dishes. This wine, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and the Roald Pinot Noir are wines to search out and this is a label to keep an eye out for.
($24 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 29, 2019

2018 Cave Dog, Albarino, Napa Valley -photo grapelive

2018 Cave Dog, Albarino, Napa Valley.
The absolutely outstanding new release from Michael Havens is a highlight in this spectacular vintage for California white wines, his 2018 is full of personality, zip and surprising depth, it sets the standard for Albariño in the New World. Bright and aromatic the new vintage is almost Txakolina like at first before gaining depth in glass with zesty citrus and green apple fruits, a hint of an almost leesy richness unfolding with plenty of mineral, wet stone and saline to keep it mouth waveringly fresh with a touch of jasmine, herb and verbena/rose tea spice. This wine is classic Albarino from start to finish, which is especially apt considering Havens was the first to plant and make Albarino in the country, on this very plot of tough soil in the southern part of the Napa Valley, originally put in the ground back in 1997. He established this parcel Albariño vines with budwood that originated from the Morgadio estate in Rias Baixas, Albarino’s spiritual home region in Spain’s cool northwestern side in Galicia where the Atlantic Ocean keeps everything salty and fresh. Interestingly, he was not done with Galician grapes, as he notes, in 2009, working with grower friend of his John Baillie, in Sonoma Valley, just off Sonoma Mountain, he oversaw the grafting of the first vineyard of Godello in California. This sourced from one of Spain’s greatest wine wine producers, As Sortes, and Morgan Twain-Peterson and Havens produced the first U.S. Godello from those vines in 2012, under their Abrente label, which also did Havens Albarino for a few vintages before his Cave Dog label was born.

I first started following Michael Havens, when he was making wine under the Havens Wine Cellars label, of which he is not involved with any longer, and I was especially taken by his wonderful Saint-Emilion style red wine made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it back then was called Bourriquot and it was one of the exquisite Bordeaux blends in Napa Valley, known for its restraint and finesse, often rivaling the best meritage wines, including Opus One and the Joseph Phelps Insignia! Havens, who has been a consultant, as he notes, to many different producers, from family wineries like Truchard Vineyards to industry titans such as Foster’s Wine Group. He says his experiences have allowed him to work with nearly every varietal grown in California, including the ones he introduced to the state Godello and this Albarino, giving him plenty of opportunities to experiment over the decades. The vibrant and aromatic 2018 Cave Dog Albarino is full of intensity and energy, it was all stainless steel fermented and aged without malo-lactic conversion, making for a wine that begs for fresh briny oysters, mussels in wine and garlic broth and or linguine and clams! The more I sip this very studied version of Albarino the more I’m reminded of the great wines from Rias Baixas and especially the old vine Alvarinho from Quinta do Regueiro in the Minho region of Portugal, which is absolutely awesome, Havens is making some thrilling stuff here, keep an eye out for these Cave Dog wines and or join his mailing list!
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 28, 2019

2017 Waxwing, Syrah, Coastview Vineyard, Monterey County -photo grapelive

2017 Waxwing, Syrah, Coastview Vineyard, Monterey County.
Scott Sisemore’s Waxwing Wine Cellars continues to impress and turn out small production hand crafted wines, like this Coastview Syrah, at very fair prices and showcase some interesting and unique vineyard sites and terroirs. Sisemore, who has had jobs at
Ravenswood Winery and Rosenblum Cellars, along with other notable California producers, as well as making wine abroad in both India and Chile. Most recently, before founding Waxwing in 2006, Scott served as associate winemaker at Pelligrini Family Vineyards, and with more than 20 years experience in the industry has had a chance to work with many top notch vineyards giving him some useful insight on which regions and varietals he wants to focus on, which leans heavily on cool climate site with Pinot and Syrah being his favorites. Coastview Vineyard in Monterey County is a nice elevated sire set on diatomaceous soils and is locally renowned for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a selection of Rhone grapes with Syrah, some Grenache and Mourvèdre doing really well there, with some outstanding wines coming off this vineyard, like those from Big Basin, and now Waxwing with this tasty Syrah.

The profile on the 2017 Waxwing Coastview Syrah is in between Northern and hillside Southern Rhone sites like Vinsobres, which has that warm Mediterranean ripe density, while still having a Saint-Joseph aromatic quality, making this wine sing in the glass with crushed red berries, incense floral notes, earthy tones and loads of spice. Scott likes to pick the grapes at modest brix levels, ferment with little or no additions and age in broken-in barrels from a variety of French coopers, to make wines that show a transparent set of layers with this one showing blackberry, plum, blueberry and racy cherry fruits, a hint of crushed rock, camphor, dried violets, minty herb and a lingering touch of creme de cassis, cedar and peppery sage. There is still some youthful tannin and mouth watering acidity keeping things edgy and vibrant, best to decant and have with robust food choices, this is stylish effort that should gain greatly with another year or two in bottle. Also, keep an eye out for his Tondre Grapefield Riesling and especially the Dierberg Vineyard Syrah, which is absolutely outstanding as well.
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 27, 2019

2017 Desire Lines Wine Co. Riesling, Cole Ranch Vineyard & AVA, Mendocino County -photo grapelive

2017 Desire Lines Wine Co. Riesling, Cole Ranch Vineyard & AVA, Mendocino County.
Cody Rasmussen’s Desire Lines Wine Co. Cole Ranch Riesling is a lovely dry acid driven white that impresses for its purity and vigor with a crisp minerally and vibrant citrus and stone fruits that thrill in the glass. West Coast Rieslings are staging a comeback of sorts after fading somewhat with the rise of the Finger Lakes in New York State in United States and many serious wines have come out in recent vintages, led by the likes of Brooks in Oregon, Tatomer in Santa Barbara, Cobb and Reeve in Sonoma County along with Morgan, Stirm and Joyce in Monterey County to name a few doing world class stuff, with Desire Lines Wine Co. joining this group and others crafting brilliant Rieslings. Of course I have missed a few other favorites, but this niche market is growing and the dry styles are getting more and more attention and these California offerings should be taken seriously. I admit I’m a Riesling junkie and usually pretty snobby, so it’s been very exciting to see just how good this grape can do in California, and Rasmussen’s Cole Ranch Mendocino County Riesling is really really solid with layers of brisk green apple, melon, unripe/tart apricot/peach and zesty lime fruits with a touch of verbena, spearmint and crushed wet stones, a bit like some fine Aussie versions and with a bone dry saline rich finish. This is very refreshing stuff with a cool steely personality, even in a warm vintage, I can’t wait to see how the 2018 turns out and it will be very interesting to compare the two vintages!

The Cole Ranch Vineyard, located between Ukiah and Boonville, is not just a vineyard it is also a single AVA and has a great track record for producing fine Riesling grapes. Cole Ranch’s long been the home of true Riesling vintage and it has a stellar history being the location that provided amazing grapes that were made by the legendary Dick Arrowood, while at Chateau St. Jean in the 70s and 80s. As Rasmussen notes, the vineyard is a rare example of where the appellation and vineyard name are one and the same, making it in effect what the French would call a “monopole” site. The vineyard, Cody adds, climate is defined by exceptionally cold nights and moderate days, which keeps the acids brilliant and extends hang-time well into the harvest season, which adds to the complexity in the Cole Ranch Riesling, the comes through with every sip here. This vintage is still current, so you should be able to find it, but as mentioned the 2018 has the potential to be even better and that should be hitting the market really soon, and I highly advise getting on the Desire Lines Wine Co. mailing list, these wines are awesome, as I have reviewed in recent months, especially their Syrah offerings, such as the Griffin’s Lair and Shake Ridge, and I will remind readers here that Cody is the assistant winemaker at Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock Wine Company in Sonoma, where he helps makes some of California’s best wines. This tasty Riesling is perfect for our Indian Summer days and is an awesome Sushi pairing wine, drink over the next 2 to 3 years.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive