2021 Desire Lines Wine Co, Evangelho Vineyard Red, Contra Costa County.
The latest Evangelho Red from Cody Rasmussen at Desire Lines Wine Co is maybe the best yet for this spectacular Carignan based offering with dark fruit and spicy vitality in a sumptuous full bodied wine that is pure California in glass, this Evangelho Red 2021 is absolutely delicious and showcases the stellar quality of the grapes coming out of this old vine vineyard in Contra Costa County. This deep purple, almost inky, wine reveals, much like the last three vintages, rich layers of crushed blackberry, plum, Italian cherry and currant fruits in the mouth, along with a smooth texture, all accented nicely with a range of red and brown cinnamon(y) and peppery spices, plus hints pf earth, mineral, vibrant acidity and sweet sandalwood. This wine is easy to love, it is one of my favorites in this stellar lineup of small lot and handcrafted wines by 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 offerings. While as noted here, their Syrah bottlings are their signature wines with the Griffin’s Lair and Shake Ridge versions being some of the best modern expressions of this grape, I also am greatly impressed by their awesome Dry Rieslings, especially the Cole Ranch, and I’m not alone there. While Rasmussen says his inspiration was Cru Beaujolais, including Cote de Brouilly and Fleurie, but I also see elements that remind me of top Corbieres wines from the Languedoc region of France, where Carignan thrives, and find it fabulous with simple and rustic cuisine, as well as holiday meals.

The Evangelho Red Wine, a blend of primarily Carignan (90%) with a touch of Mourvèdre (10%), typically, has become, as Rasmussen notes, one of his most important wines. Cody goes on the say that his 2021 was characterized by extraordinarily light crops at Evangelho Vineyard, as a result of the extreme drought, giving this year an extra degree of concentration, in my opinion as well. Rasmussen thinks you can feel some of the intensity and richness in the wine, that likely is do with, what he calls, the tragically light crop yield he got. As in previous vintages, this Evangelho red wine was fermented with 30% whole cluster under a submerged cap, then gently pressed and aged for ten months in neutral 400L puncheons. The winery notes that Carignan from Evangelho, one of the most historic vineyards in California, which is set on deep sandy soils, gives a juicy wine that smells of flowers and red fruits, with a soft tannin profile and vibrant acidity, which I endorse completely. The inclusion of partial whole cluster and stems adds spice to the nose, while the small portion of carbonic maceration used here and Mourvèdre, that Cody continues, add flesh to the palate, as well as complexity. The winemaking style, he explains, is inspired by his love, as noted above, for the great Cru Beaujolais of France, with the wines of Clos de la Roilette and the old-vine single parcel wines of Château Thivin being ones that influenced him, I agree with him, that these are wines that are a joy to drink while young, but that can age gracefully as well, as I’m sure his own wines will do. I really love these latest Desire Lines releases and highly recommend checking them out as soon as possible!
($32 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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