2021 Desire Lines Wine Co., Cabernet Sauvignon, Lichau Hill Vineyard, Petaluma Gap AVA, Sonoma County.
As I’ve been saying, Cody Rasmussen’s Desire Lines Wines Co. label is certainly one of the coolest and best new wineries to emerge in the last few years and his latest set of wines are absolute gems with his Syrah bottlings being some of the best in the state. This Lichau Hill Cabernet is pretty exciting too, especially this 2021 version. This wine follows the taste profile of the 2018 version, which I reviewed here, with a deeply saturated with an almost opaque black/purple and garnet tinted color which is ultra compelling and the nose is a classic mix of black and red fruit, floral notes, a light wood toast and chaparral that leads to an elegant and lightly spiced full bodied palate. A bit more natural acidity is here, but it doesn’t take away from Lichau’s opulent dense layering of blackberries, creme de cassis, plum and cherry fruits along with licorice, cedar, minty herb, a touch of vanilla and with some earthy loam, tannic firmness. For the Lichau Cab, winemaker Rasmussen fully de-stems the Cab clusters, but he uniquely doesn’t crush the berries, fermenting them on the skins for thirty days in tank, to get a semi-carbonic juiciness and smooth textures, and then he ages the Lichau for about 15 months in smoky/toasty 225L French oak barriques with about 40% new oak, depending on the vintage. As I’ve noted in prior reviews, Rasmussen, is the assistant winemaker at Bedrock Wine Company, where he works under the guidance of Morgan Twain-Peterson MW, one of the great wine minds of California, and who has a fantastic selection of top vineyard sites from which great grapes come from, found in these excellently crafted small lot wines.

The Lichau Hill Vineyard, which is set on Sonoma Mountain’s western side with a southwest facing and a mix of rocky soils, is graced with a slightly cooler coastal influence, giving a more Bordeaux like character. The Lichau Vineyard, as Cody notes is thoroughly singular, it has the only Cabernet Sauvignon planted within the Petaluma Gap AVA, and at a good elevation, it misses most of fog and gets warm enough to fully ripenCody Rasmussen and his wife Emily started this micro (family) winery, Desire Lines Wine Co. in 2014 when they made their first wine, a Mendocino Syrah from the Eagle Point Vineyard, before creating a more wide set of wines over the next few vintages, which include a fabulous Griffin’s Lair Syrah, an expressive dry Riesling from Cole Ranch, a juicy Carignan blend from old wines in Contra Costa County, a pure Mourvedre and another gorgeous and opulent Syrah from the much heralded Shake Rigde Vineyard in the Amador County, as well as this impressive single vineyard Cabernet offering. Rasmussen, who is the assistant winemaker at Bedrock Wine Company under the guidance of Morgan Twain-Peterson MW and one of the great wine minds of California, and has a fantastic selection of top vineyard sites to work from. His own label wines have the quality and refinement that you see in the highly regarded Bedrock wines, but still have a unique distinction and show his own personality as well as the individual terroir characteristics, which is clearly on display on this wine. Rasmussen says he didn’t intend to make a Cabernet when we started Desire Lines, but just by chance along a hiking trail, the Lichau Hill appeared to him and he was intrigued by this remote vineyard, and the results so far are impressive, I look forward to following this wine into the next decade. Desire Lines has stellar lineup, including the fabulous selection of Riesling and Syrah wines, I highly recommend all of the wines.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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