"COME TO MENDOCINO TO SEE WHAT NAPA LOOKED LIKE 30 YEARS AGO." - JEFF HANSEN (WINEMAKER, LULA CELLARS)
At 4,000 cases and only DTC (sold Direct-To-Consumer), Lula Cellars has a highly allocated stock of Anderson Valley wine with intricate flavor and intense acid to back it. Mendocino made, the wine is named after the grandmother of Lula Cellars winemaker - Jeff Hansen. Twenty-two acres with fifteen planted to Pinot Noir, an all estate production resides in the city of Philo, referred to some as 'Mendocino's Place for Pinot'.
Not only does Jeff Hansen have a great palate, but he has a great eye as well. Back in the day, he was a photographer in LA. Upon conducting a photo shoot with Mondavi in Napa, he fell in love with the focus of his attention - wine. Now 33 years a winemaker (25 of which in Napa), Jeff makes wine in the Anderson Valley AVA - specifically Mendocino. Jeff admits, "I would never say I make the best in Anderson Valley, but no one makes better." Having planted all the vineyards himself, Jeff Hansen takes great care and confidence in vines he trains with the methodology as follows: "If it's left handed, I'll leave it left handed... not forcing it to be right."
Looking for a wonderful white wine with food or without? Lula Cellar's 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is the ticket. In the spectrum of the Lula lineup, after the Sauvignon Blanc, shift to the Rosato 2015 Rosé before reaching for the red just yet. So SUPER flavorful, the bottle should be wearing a cape to warn its imbibers of the super-sipping flavor it exudes. With resilient acid and rose potpourri aromatics, it's a stunning sip (especially at $20/bottle) made of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Zinfandel. Get it quick though. Only 300 of this one made.
Now for the reds.
The 2014 Zinfandel from the Mariah Vineyard, at 2,000 feet up from the ocean and 6 miles from the ocean, it is rich with bright, racy flavors of boysenberry and plum sauce.
Switching gears, we move on to Pinot Noir and look at three examples. The 2013 Mendocino Pinot Noir from the Costa & Peterson Vineyards on the Mendocino coast hails from a respectable collection of clones yielding brilliant ruby acid and beautiful red cherry notes. Next up, the 2013 Costa Vineyard Pinot Noir is comprised of 65% Pommard & 35% Dijon 115. Delicate on the nose and feminine on the finish, this Pinot is pure satin and silk with both earthy and red plum notes presented in an aromatic carnation bouquet. Last, but not least, the 2013 Peterson Vineyard Pinot Noir is more masculine and ripe than the former and carries with it more forward fruit.
All that said, cheers to different Pinot Noirs (and different wines of all kinds for that matter) for the singular style they offer to those who pay attention on the palate.