2020 Desire Lines Wine Co., Winds of Change Red Wine, California.
The latest Winds of Change California Red Wine by Cody Rasmussen at Desire Lines Wine Co. is another killer bottle and unbelievable bargain that delivers a full bodied array of ripe dark fruits that are, as with the 2019, accented by wild herbs and racy spices. This vintage, which took much more care because of the fires that left most regions with smoke taint issues, shows no ill effects and is in fact maybe even better than the prior release. The color is inky with opaque purple core and ruby edges which is highly inviting and the bouquet is a mix of heady florals and savory elements, with mineral tones and black fruits. The Desire Lines Winds of Change Red is sourced from mostly cool climate sites within the state and shows an inner brightness, but with a rich and concentrated California profile of flavors with the main Syrah component being a powerful influence here with deep blackberry, blueberry, wild plum and currant leading the way of the youthfully fresh medium/full palate that also has hints of violets, reduced strawberry, camphor, black licorice, peppercorns and sandalwood. There is a grace and a rawly authentic play here that creates a natural and happy tension between lush fruit density and whole cluster Umami that is wildly enjoyable and shows off the talents of Rasmussen as a light handed winemaker, I don’t think I could find anything to fault here. In recent years, Rasmussen’s wine have really impressed me and I rate them highly in terms of quality and what they offer in pleasure in the glass, these are wines that I drink for myself, in particular this Winds of Change Red, it can go with a variety of cuisine and is almost totally guilt free to pop open on a Tuesday night with take away pizza.
Rasmussen, who is an assistant winemaker at Bedrock Wine Company under Morgan Twain-Peterson, and his wife Emily’s Desire Lines Wine Co. label is certainly one of California’s next generation stars, based on what I’ve tasted over their first five years, especially with what they’ve done with Syrah and Dry Riesling! This latest set of wines being an exceptional collection, with his pure Syrah bottlings from Griffin’s Lair in the Petaluma Gap and Shake Ridge Vineyard, being amazing efforts as well as Cody’s fantastic Wily Vineyard and Cole Ranch Dry Rieslings and I love the Carignan based Evangelho Vineyard Red and this Winds of Change Red, they are deftly blended and exciting wines that are tremendous values! Syrah fans should be on the Desire Lines mailing list and for fans of these modern California wines too, especially since Rasmussen has added some exciting other whites and reds to the lineup, including Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier to his whites and he even now has a chewy old school Cabernet Sauvignon that pays tribute to Phillip Togni and Cathy Corison in style, less alcohol and pure Cab punchiness. This 2020 Winds of Change is a ridiculously (in good way) priced Rhone Blend, made from 65% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 15% Carignan and 5% Grenache, that reminds me a bit of Domaine Gramenon, which is high praise. It saw a good percentage of whole cluster and was fermented with native yeasts and aging took place in neutral French oak barrels including small larger format puncheons, a vessel that Cody says, works fantastically well with Syrah. Rasmussen, as I have noted before, employs a minimal approach in the cellar, though very precise and clean, he focuses on transparency, supple textural quality, aromatics and purity, which are on full display here.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive