2021 Desire Lines Wine Co, Evangelho Red Wine, Contra Costa County.
Joining a lineup of historic California wines, this beautiful and lush 2021 Carignan and Mourvedre red blend from Desire Lines comes from the deep sandy soils in Contra Costa and the famed Evangehlo Vineyard, which dates back to the late 1800s Desire Lines is one of the best vintages made to date from this awesome small label based in Sonoma. Usually close to 90% Carignan and 10% Mourvedre the Evangehlo Red is purple/garnet in the glass and deeply fruited with crushed blackberries, succulent currants, plum and candied cherries on the full bodied palate, that doesn’t feel heavy with the year’s bright acidity, along with the wine’s natural savory crunch. Crisp accents of minty herbs, fennel, a sultry earthy notes, dusty stones and heady florals, making for a complex and exciting wine. Winemaker Cody Rasmussen says the heritage and historic Evangelho Vineyard is one of California’s greatest vineyards, and after many years of tasting wines from here, like this one, I’d have to agree. As mentioned in prior reviews, Cody Rasmussen, who is the assistant winemaker at Morgan Twain-Peterson MW’s Bedrock Wine Company, along with his wife Emily have carved out a niche for themselves with these Desire Lines wines, their Syrah is their signature grape with the Griffin’s Lair and Shake Ridge bottlings being some of the state’s best examples. Besides the stellar Syrahs, Rasmussen has made himself one of the best talents in dry Riesling in the country, especially his exceptional Cole Ranch, which I recently reviewed here. With this latest set of releases, Desire Lines have added some new things to the lineup, including a Viognier and a Sauvignon Blanc, both of which I am excited to try soon.

The 2021 Evangelho Red Wine is as Cody notes, like his 2020, is a touch silkier on the palate than the 2019 and 2018 editions, with a playful youthful exuberance that highlights both the vintage and the vineyard in a great year, making a very lovable and serious wine. There’s satiny tannins here, providing a backbone for solid aging potential, while allowing sex appeal and pleasure even now. As in previous vintages, Rasmussen fermented with 30% whole cluster under a submerged cap and aged the Evangelho Red for ten months in neutral 400L barrels. As he has said before, Cody loves the bigger 400L barrel size for Carignan, as it retains freshness and builds tension in the wine like all large format casks, but with a less reductive tendency than the 500L and 600L barrels that I prefer for Syrah and Mourvèdre. As I reported last time trying this wine, Rasmussen believes the Carignan gives the wine a singular juiciness and floral and red-fruit aromas, with a soft tannin profile and vibrant acidity. Going on he adds that the inclusion of cluster (partial stems) adds spice to the nose, while the small portion of carbonic maceration and Mourvèdre add flesh to the palate. Desire Lines, for this wine, models their winemaking after the great cru Beaujolais, like Dutraive and or Chateau Thivin, crafting wines that are delightful when young but should mature beautifully in the bottle as well. These old vines, at Evangelho, were planted on their own-roots back in the 1890s in the Oakley Sands, giving this wine a sense of place and a wealth of complexity and depth. These deep say soils form this site into one of California’s most distinctive terroirs with the delta breezes giving the wines freshness, elegance and fine aromatic character, elements which are clearly on display here, and I highly recommend this incredibly delicious wine. I also suggest getting on the mailing list for these Desire Lines Wine Co. wines and don’t miss this one, and Cody’s brilliant Syrahs and Rieslings!
($32 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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