Luxe Beat Magazine MAY 2015 - Page 61

Wine Lula Cellars vineyards Lula Cellars Pinot Noir wines from Mendocino County, which is not only one of California’s cooler appellations with sunny days and cool, foggy nights, but also the largest US producer of organic wines. Lula Cellars is in the long, narrow Anderson Valley, known as one of the top Pinot Noir regions in North America. I tasted several 2012 wines and one 2013 wine from Lula Cellars. By combining the abundance of the fertile valley, the cool foggy nights and sunny days with years of experience and just the right amount of aging in oak barrels, Lula Cellars has created some world-class wines and is sure to offer exceptional wines for many years to come. There are several different Pinot Noirs offered by Lula Cellars. The 2012 Mendocino Pinot Noir is a blend of pinot grapes using four different Pinot Noir clones from two coastal vineyards, both planted in 1998. The blend of this wine is 35 percent Pommard, 30 percent Dijon #115, 15 percent Dijon #777 and 20 percent Dijon #667 clones. The wine is handmade in small fermentation vats, with no pumps or mechanical devices used during the fermentation process. Hansen ages each clone separately for 12 months in 50 percent new French oak barrels, blends the wines, and then returns the blended wine to the barrels for six more months. The 2012 Mendocino Pinot Noir, which sells for $45 per bottle, is surprisingly complex for such a new cellar, obviously reflecting Hansen’s years of expertise. The nose on this one had a classic Pinot Noir sweetspicy, reminiscent of roses and coriander with cherries. The flavor is full of luscious ripe black cherry and has a nice balanced acidity. Hansen suggests pairing it with something like a pork Milanese. My favorite Pinot Noir at Lula, however, was the 2012 Costa Vineyards Pinot Noir. This one is bottled from grapes that grow on five acres in the nearby coastal mountain town of Comptche. That coastal climate is ideal for producing this full-bodied Pinot Noir. The wine is 65 percent Pommard and 35 percent Dijon #115 clones grown in the same vineyard. Again, the fermentation process is completely non-mechanized; the two wines age separately for 12 months in 50 percent new French oak, are blended and then aged for an additional six months. This is an absolutely gorgeous ruby wine, perfectly balanced and full-bodied. The first aromas are that subtle rose and a deep earthiness that comes from the coastal area of Mendocino. The flavors of ripe raspberries bring the wine to life and the finish of plum is finessed with that idea amount of oak aging. I literally felt as if I were tasting the very soul of Mendocino when I drank this wine, which sells for $45 per bottle. beautifully with braised lamb shanks. Dry Gewürztraminer The 2013 Mendocino Dry Gewürtztraminer comes from grapes that grow in the hills near Ukiah. There are some Gewürtztraminers that don’t seem quite so balanced, ending up either too sweet or without any taste of the fruit. The Lula Cellars Gewürtztraminer, however, offers a nice balance with lovely tangerine notes and a crisp acidity and subtle spices that make it a pleasure to drink. It made me want to go grab some seafood (maybe the local Dungeness crabs), Lula Cellars Zinfandel The 2012 Mendocino Zinfandel is from grapes grown at Mariah Vineyards on Mendocino Ridge. The vineyard, planted in 1980, is dry farmed, with no irrigation other than the natural winter rains. The wine is fruit forward with lovely aromas of blackberry jam. The t