2020 Rootdown Wine Cellars, Dry Riesling “R1” Cole Ranch AVA, Mendocino County.
The brilliant and crisply detailed Root Down Cellars Cole Ranch Riesling is wonderfully aromatic and lively on the light framed palate with thrilling and electric layers of lime, lemon, green apple, pineapple and quince fruits, along with a bright spicy sensation, wet stones, delicate florals and wild herbs and shinning in the background, this is another excellent California dry Riesling with true varietal character. Rootdown Wine Cellars, based in Healdsburg, was started by winemaker/owner Mike Lucia in 2014, who was primarily focused on making quality California Rosé, but who has now filled out his collection of small batch wines, which includes this fabulous stuff, plus other Cole Ranch offerings like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Trousseau and a rare California version of Savagnin, the unique Jura white grape. Lucia says his goal is to allow the influence of the soil on wine, particularly with his organic winemaking, to shine trough here. Rootdown, he adds, focuses on varietal specific wines from single vineyards that lead with earth and texture, rather than only fruit, and this wine does this very successfully, this is a label to keep an eye on.

As noted here at Grapelive.com, the Cole Ranch AVA, originally established in 1983, but the vines date back to 1971 when former owner Joe Cole planted them here, is an American Viticultural Area, and a single vineyard, located in Mendocino County, California. This area of vines, at less than a quarter of a square mile, about 60 acres, makes it the smallest AVA (appellation) in the United States. This tiny AVA is located between the Russian River and Anderson Valley and is home to some of the state’s most prized Riesling, as well as having small parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir, all of which is sold to just a few wineries. This vineyard is set on a series of high hills ranging from 1,400-1,600 feet in elevation, and is now owned by the Sterling family, proprietors of the Esterlina Winery, that is located in Philo, controlling the entire vineyard acreage of the appellation, suppling Desire Lines with a some Riesling, as well as Pinot Noir guru Ross Cobb, who’s own version of dry Riesling has a cult like following. Now we have this Rootdown version to admire, with this pale golden 2020 being an outstanding effort that gains dimension with air, adding papaya and kiwi, as well as round texture, but stays intensely vibrant throughout, making it an exceptional dry Riesling to enjoy with raw foods, such as briny oysters and or sushi.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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