mike lucia cole ranch

Mike Lucia from Cole Ranch

mike lucia cole ranchMike Lucia from Cole Ranch in Mendocino County is here on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger, on a special Monday edition.

His family owns the ranch and they made their first wine in November of 2019. They have been converting a lot of their acreage to alpine varieties and have been selling fruit and making wine since then. John Cole, the vineyard’s namesake, passed away last year. He started a ranch that was going to be a cattle ranch, but he slowly started planting varieties that he liked, which were Cabernet, Merlot and Riesling. In 1984 he petitioned for Cole Ranch to become an AVA and he got it.

Dan tells about how hard it is to farm this land, which is not easy work. They have started with rootstock and irrigation systems, doing it all organically. You start with rootstock and then you can graft a varietal onto the rootstock.

Cole Ranch, the Bahl Fratty Source

This is where Dan Berger got his Riesling fruit for his Bahl Fratty Riesling. It is just barely ready to be released. A friend of Dan’s who is a German Riesling expert said he would buy some now and put it in his cellar for about three years. Dan knew how good this Riesling fruit was and he wanted it. So in 2022 finally Mike was able to procure a ton of fruit for Dan, for Bahl Fratty. Rootdown Wine is the name of Mike Lucia’s own label.

Dan describes the aromatics as typical of Cole Ranch. In Dan’s opinion, this is the best Riesling vineyard in the US. The terroir shows up in the aromatics of the wine. Dan’s wine has zero sugar, and Mike’s has only a little. Both will age very well, even if most people think of buying Riesling and drinking it right away. With these wines, they are showing people what can happen with aged, vintaged Riesling. Dan’s favorite Rieslings in his personal cellar are the 2001s and 2002s.

For the rest of the episode, Dan and Mike delve deeply into the whole subject of Riesling, Cole Ranch and making unusual wines. (Mike Lucia photo by Bonafide Productions, from the Cole Ranch website.)

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