2018 Desire Lines Wine Co., Riesling, Cole Ranch Vineyard and AVA, Mendocino County.
I would be amiss if after reviewing all of the latest Desire Lines Wine Co. wines without saying how good their dry Riesling was, as this 2018 Cole Ranch is really a beautiful California version of this grape, it is one a growing number of quality examples in the state joining long time legend Stony Hill, including Reeve, Joyce, Morgan, Cobb, Stirm, Union-Sacre and of course Tatomer, one of the first to lead this new wave of dry Riesling. Cody Rasmussen’s Desire Lines Wine Co. Cole Ranch Riesling while modeled after Germany’s Grosses Gewachs or GG’s has for me a quality and style that reminds me of some of the great Aussie versions like Pike’s, Grosset’s Polish Hill, Rolf Binder, Henschke, Pewsey Vale and Jim Barry’s Claire Valley expressions. The 2018 is bright, intense and wildly enjoyable, Riesling fans with love this stuff with its vivid acidity and riveting layers of white peach, racy lime, green melon, papaya/mango fruits with a zesty pop of verbena, lemon oil and orange blossoms, plus wild fennel, wet stones, brisk steeliness and dried ginger spiciness. The Cole Ranch, planted back in 1973, is both a single vineyard site and its own AVA in Mendocino County, it is a true Monopole, located in a narrow valley between Boonville and Ukiah that offers a cool climate terroir and like Potter Valley makes for good Riesling country. Rasmussen notes that Cole Ranch has soils warm up late in the spring, it also tends to stay well shaded by the sharp mountain ridges above, and temperatures plummet at night as cool air flows downhill into the vineyard preserving fresh detail and crystalline purity in the wine, especially true in this vintage.

The 2018 Cole Ranch Riesling, sourced from garly head drained and dry farmed old vines was whole-cluster pressed to tank, where the juice was cold settled for 48 hours, which is very important to clear green/bitter phenolics out before it was gently racked to neutral wood barrels for natural fermentation, very similar to how the German GG’s are crafted. Rasmussen, who has made a few vintages from this site, says the Cole Ranch Riesling has always been super slow ferment, making for an extra wait and he explains that 2018 proved to be no different as his Riesling didn’t finish primary fermentation until late January. It is very exciting times for California, with an incredible new generation of winemakers and labels to follow, like Desire Lines Wine Co. and winemaker Cody Rasmussen, who as assistant winemaker at Bedrock Wine Co. under Morgan Twain-Peterson MW has finely honed his talents and gained an amazing understanding of vineyards and California history which he has applied to his own wines. His latest set of wines are compelling and soulful collection of goodies with an outstanding couple of Syrah(s) with Shake Ridge Vineyard and Griffin’s Lair bottlings that are two distinct and terroir driven marvels. Beyond his stellar Syrah offerings, I am impressed with his Mourvedre and Carignan based reds as well as this delightful and well crafted dry Riesling, this is a micro winery that is well worth checking out and I highly recommend joining the mailing list, these are some of best values you’ll find. This Cole Ranch dry Riesling has tons of personality and is fabulous as a Summer sipper, but has the extract and substance to companion serious cuisine, enjoy it with everything from oysters, grilled shrimp and Asian dishes to honey roasted ham or fresh cut sushi.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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