2021 Desire Lines Wine Co, Dry Riesling, Cole Ranch Vineyard & AVA, Mendocino County.
One of the most iconic single vineyard alternative white wines in California, the Cole Ranch Dry Riesling by Cody Rasmussen at Desire Lines Wine Co is an exceptional bottle of varietal wine with an amazing contrast between acidity and fruit concentration, on par with many top German (GGs) and Alsatian versions of this grape, showing preserved lemon, green apple, quince and tart muskmelon fruits that are accented by chamomile, white flowers, zesty herbs, wet stones, verbena and citrus oil. Brisk and saline, once open you get an impactful textural presence on the medium bodied and racy/intense palate, making for a thrill to the senses and a wine that has remarkable class and poise for the money. The Cole Ranch Vineyard, located in a remote area of Mendocino County, is in a narrow valley, as Rasmussen notes, in the mountains between Boonville and Ukiah, it is a rare monopole site being both a single-vineyard and an AVA. The incredible mature Riesling vines here, as Cody adds, were planted back in 1973 and are on St. George (American) rootstock, all old school head-trained and dry-farmed, which makes them some of the most interesting and historic Riesling vines in California. Cody and Emily Rasmussen started their own micro-winery and label, Desire Lines Wine Co. with a small batch of Syrah in 2014 and now has a wonderful collection of wines from which to chose, including his set of Rieslings, this one, along with the Wiley, Anderson Valley bottling and the Massa Estate old vine effort, and while he does mostly dry crisp versions, Cody has added a couple of very limited “Kabinett” off dry efforts to his lineup, which I hope to get a few of with this upcoming release.

Winemaker Cody Rasmussen, who is one of America’s top guns with Riesling, as well as with Syrah, says that the 2021 rendition of his Cole Ranch Dry Riesling practically crackles with energy, with tension and freshness that makes him recall his awesome 2018 vintage, which was similarly bracing in style. I too, agree and while I loved that 2018, this pale gold and shimmering wine really grabbed me and I think it might prove to be longer lived, though it really is in a great place now, especially with food and time in the glass. Like I mentioned it just gets better and more open with air, in a way very few domestic Rieslings can do, this is a wine that will even get old world fanatics turned on, don’t take my word for it, see what Riesling expert Stuart Piggot of James Suckling’s wine reviews says, and you see that the world has definitely taken notice of Rasmussen’s efforts. This wine, as always, transmits the combination of rocky soils, that includes some limestone, gravel and loam that are here at Cole Ranch with pristine clarity. The Cole Ranch AVA, as mentioned in my prior reviews, was originally established in 1983, but the vines date back to 1971 when former owner Joe Cole planted them, this area of vines, at about 60 acres, is the smallest AVA (appellation) in the United States. To make his Rieslings, Cody Rasmussen, also as noted before, uses traditional old world methods, with grapes seeing a whole cluster pressing with cold settling in tank, which bleeds out, or drops out the green phenolics, that, as Cody explains, is followed by fermentation in neutral barrels, where the wines are left on fine lees until bottling in the following summer, or about 9 months in total, which allows for a charming roundness, while focusing on absolute purity. There are very few wines out there that deliver the quality for the price like this one does, in fact all of these Desire Lines wines are ridiculous values, do not miss them, especially these 2021s!
($25 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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