Spring 2019 Release

2016 Desire Lines Griffin’s Lair Syrah Petaluma Gap - Desire Lines Wine Co.

2016 Desire Lines Griffin’s Lair Syrah

I'm terrifically pleased with our 2016 Griffin's Lair Syrah. It's a lovely wine, more vibrant and lithe than the 2015, owing mostly to the weather immediately preceding the pick. In both 2015 and 2016 we faced a hot and dry weather spell just on the cusp of harvest at Griffin's Lair.

In 2015 we choose to pick just after the heat, because the growing season had been quick, generally warm and dry, and we felt that the extra time might give us a little extra concentration and tannin resolution. In 2016 the ripening window had been longer thanks to more mild temperatures in late August and early September, and so we decided to pick just before the heat to showcase the purity of the vintage.

Like the 2015, the 2016 Griffin's Lair Syrah was fermented with 50% whole cluster, with a submerged cap for the first half of fermentation and raised in neutral large format barrels for 15 months before bottling without fining or filtration. The 2016 is a bit more red-fruited than the 2015, especially after a decant; both strut the bacon, olive tapenade, and black tea that practically shout "Griffin’s Lair!"
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2017 Desire Lines Cole Ranch Riesling Cole Ranch - Desire Lines Wine Co.

2017 Desire Lines Cole Ranch Riesling

Like the 2016 Riesling from Cole Ranch, the 2017 was whole-cluster pressed and fermented in neutral wooden barrels. 2017 was a warmer vintage relative to 2016, and thus the wine is richer and more tropical in flavor than the 2016. We racked the 2017 from neutral barrel to stainless steel drums in March, à la the wonderful Meursaults of Domaine Roulot, to encourage the wine to tighten up before the bottling in July. Like the 2016, the 2017 has six grams residual sugar and a 3.0 pH, our homage to the German Grosses Gewächs Rieslings.
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Fall 2018 Release

2016 Desire Lines Shake Ridge Syrah Amador County - Desire Lines Wine Co.

2016 Desire Lines Shake Ridge Syrah

Our 2016 Shake Ridge Syrah was fermented with 50% whole cluster and aged for 14 months in neutral 500L barrels. We get fruit from two different blocks on the front of the ranch, from the first vines planted at Shake Ridge in 2003. Both blocks run from the crown of a ridge down into the colder swale, giving us a range of flavors to work with – textbook Syrah game and funk from the top, acid and fresh blue fruit flavors from the bottom. The wine is exotically perfumed with firm tannin and a sweet core of fruit that runs through the center of the wine, fitting for a wine from the foothills.

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2017 Desire Lines Evangelho Red Wine Contra Costa County - Desire Lines Wine Co.

2017 Desire Lines Evangelho Red Wine

Our 2017 Evangelho Red Wine is a blend of roughly 95% carignan and 5% mourvèdre. The wine was fermented with 30% whole cluster under a submerged cap and aged for ten months in neutral 400L barrels. The carignan from Evangelho gives a juicy wine that smells of flowers and red fruits, with a soft tannin profile (a product of the sandy soils) and vibrant acidity. The inclusion of cluster adds spice to the nose, while the small portion of carbonic maceration and mourvèdre add flesh to the palate. The winemaking style is inspired by our love for the great cru Beaujolais of France (and in our book, that’s Clos de la Roilette’s Cuvée Tardive and the old-vine single parcels of Château Thivin): wines that are a joy to drink while young and age gracefully as well.
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Spring 2018 Release

These first wines are wines of serendipity and joy for us. It was a great joy to share them with you, and we are beyond thrilled to call these our wines, vineyards, and growers. Though surely it must be the other way around. These wines mean the world to us and are exactly the wines we set out to make when we launched into this void, without even knowing the direction we’d take.

2016 Desire Lines Cole Ranch Riesling Cole Ranch - Desire Lines Wine Co.

2016 Desire Lines Cole Ranch Riesling

In 2016, fate struck us once again in the rugged mountains of Mendocino County. Our feet, it seemed, were leading us down a path towards a fledging wine brand.

Riesling was my first wine love; I’d probably be working in a cubicle somewhere were it not for Terry Theise’s Reading Between the Wines and the ready availability of the Skurnik portfolio in upstate New York. Riesling provided the door into the ethereal, into wines that tasted like mineral water, flowers and citrus, and of somewhere. This, along with my lack of enthusiasm at the way my case interviews were going for prospective management consulting jobs, propelled me from the East Coast to the Gold Coast in a matter of months. I long harbored a desire to make Riesling, if only to drink my own stash, but thought the pickings of great Riesling vineyards slim (if nonexistent) in California.

It was a firm and ill-founded dogma, and experience opened my eyes. Cole Ranch had been on my radar, and in the middle of harvest craziness I heard that the vineyard had changed hands and wondered who would take the fruit. With a rare Saturday off, I convinced Em to drive the two hours up to Mendocino with me, armed with a few business cards and trove of cautious optimism. We drove up Highway 253 and pulled over to peek at the vineyard, looking for picking bins to give us a sense of who was buying the fruit. After some quick marital negotiating and a panicked moment rummaging around the car for a pen, I scrawled out a note on our paper lunch sack and binder-clipped it to the fence with my business card. (Em is still proud that her car-hoarding tendencies provided us the tools to succeed in that moment).

Cole Ranch is a rare jewel – a cold vineyard site with a long growing season, perfect for Riesling. The vines were planted at Cole Ranch in 1973 on St. George rootstock, head-trained and dry-farmed. The vineyard sits in a narrow valley in the mountains between Boonville and Ukiah. The soils warm up late in the spring, the valley tends to stay shaded by the sharp mountain ridges above, and temperatures plummet at night as cool air flows downhill into the vineyard. The grapes were picked perfectly ripe at a cool 21°brix and a pH below 3.0. Like the German Grosses Gewächs Rieslings that we love so much, the wine is a study in tension and richness, with a few grams of residual sugar retained to balance the abundant acidity. This is dry Riesling rendered in pointillist detail, shimmering and limpid.

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2015 Desire Lines Griffin’s Lair Syrah Petaluma Gap - Desire Lines Wine Co.

2015 Desire Lines Griffin’s Lair Syrah

This wine is everything we hoped for – at once dense and yet lithe, soaringly aromatic, inspired by the traditional Cote Rotie and St-Joseph that we adore. The wine fermented un-inoculated with 50% whole cluster and a submerged cap through the first half of fermentation, pressed off just short of dryness, and put down to neutral large format barrels for 15 months before bottling. The wine tastes unmistakably like Griffin’s Lair, suffused with cherry, black tea, and bacon fat, all of which are cast in high relief by the cap submersion. We’re decanting this at home for at least 30 minutes, and are excited to watch this evolve in bottle for many years to come.

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