A great bottle of wine is no fluff.
When I was a "fine dining" waitress during college earning tips at the French Gourmet, I was exposed to fine wines that cost a bundle. They were purchased by men in tweeds and women in unsoiled leather pumps. I didn't appreciate a one. That's when my belief in the fluff factor began, which included wine prices equated to marketing, not quality.
But recently, as part of research for a travel story about Mendocino, I was introduced to Lula Cellars in California's Anderson Valley.
The owner and wine maker of Lula Cellars, Jeff Hansen, may have sensed I wasn't a wine connoisseur and he spent extra time explaining how his grapes were grown sustainably and chosen for full flavor, which contributed to his Lula Cellars Pinot Noir and Zinfandel winning gold medals. The part that struck me, and I wrote about, was how the grapes were sustainably grown and Mendocino wine makers led the country in sustainable practices: I appreciated no herbicides or pesticides were used in their vineyards. Rather a build up of good predators ate the bad predators, leaving the grapes free to grow in the California sunshine. Perhaps to drive home the full flavor point, I received a Lula Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir (from Peterson Vineyard) and a 2014 red Zinfandel (from Mariah Vineyard) in the mail for the holidays.
The pinot noir tasted rich and full-bodied (not too sweet), and made me happy. It was a much richer flavor than other wines I'd grown accustomed to. I loved the taste. Drank it sparingly in order to savor the flavor, which seemed counter-intuitive: I thought I'd want to drink more wine because it was so delicious but no. It turned out quality over quantity was the order with this wine. The zinfandel was equally delicious and aromatic. In the past, I've avoided red wines because I've gotten a sulfates-induced headache but not with these! In both cases, the wines made me feel great and I wanted them to last for weeks. Alas, a few days and our time was up, for a great bottle of wine has a shelf life and I learned is no fluff.
According to the Lula Cellars web site,
"The goal of Lula Cellars is simple: to produce world class wines to be sold directly to consumers at prices that are reasonable. Over the years, we’ve built a reputation for consistently producing ultra premium wines, while providing friendly customer service. We are proud of the fact that our customers become our friends!"
Lula Cellars sells directly to the consumer and has a wine club, which offers discounts. Check out the wine club here. Current suggested retail for the referenced 2012 Pinot Noir is--oops couldn't find price just now but think it was $45 and the 2014 Zinfandel $29.
Thanks, Jeff! Great wine!
Lula Cellars: 2800 Guntley Road, Philo, CA 95466, Tasting room open daily 10 to 6. Dog friendly.
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Until next time, breathe easy and make life an adventure. Let's go! Out of Los Angeles and into the world, chasing clean air, beauty, and a sustainable life!