THE STORY BEHIND LULA CELLARS: PART THREE
In part one of The Story Behind Lula Cellars, we shared how we got our name, the development of the Estate, and the legacy the late Jeff Hansen created for Lula Cellars. In part two, we dove deeper into the story and gave insights into our daily operations, the vineyards, philosophies, and introduced you to our Winemaker, Matt Parish. In the grand finale, part three, we’ll be sharing all about our portfolio of wines. Sit back, relax, and grab a glass of your favorite Lula wine as we conclude this three-part series!
The New Vision for the Lula Portfolio
Before we dig into the stories behind each wine in our portfolio, we’d like to share how our vision developed for our current releases. When we brought on Matt back in 2017, he and Proprietor Ken Avery created a new vision for Lula wines. As we discussed in part two, we wanted to produce wines that would be world-class, approachable, accessible, and a delight to drink.
Ken’s thoughts about the new vision for the portfolio, “My standard was creating a wine that I would thoroughly enjoy drinking by itself and not feel I needed to pair it with food or something else. In developing the portfolio, we wanted to focus on the Anderson Valley and Pinot Noir. Pinot Noirs not produced from the Anderson Valley would have a single-vineyard designation. The remainder of the portfolio was intended to come with a single-vineyard designation and a desire to show the diversity of the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County. You will not see Lula create a wine from outside of Mendocino County, as that would be inconsistent with our vision.”
Club Exclusive Wines: Rescue Block & Founders Cuvée
Rescue Block (125-150 cases produced): When Lula purchased our Estate in the Deep End of the Anderson Valley back in 2012, Ken and Jeff Hansen had been told that while it was laid out for a 15-acre vineyard, no vines had ever been planted. The property was severely overgrown and while clearing it for the first five-acre planting, they discovered about 1,000 vines that had been forgotten, left to survive on their own.
They decided to “rescue” these vines, consistent with their love for rescue animals, and see what quality of wine they could produce from these vines. Consistently rated as our best wine, we couldn’t have written the results and stardom these vines have received! There is still a mystery behind these vines. We do know that it’s a Pinot Noir clone, but we aren’t sure what the actual clone is. We believe these vines were planted about 11 years ago and it has become a portal to see what quality grapes our young vineyard will produce once mature.
Founders Cuvée (250 cases produced): When Matt Parish took over for Jeff Hansen, replacing the Lula founding winemaker, he and Ken decided to develop a wine to honor Jeff’s legacy and contribution to Lula Cellars. Together they created a 2017 Mendocino County Pinot Noir that was a blend of the three vineyards that Jeff had developed.
Founders Cuvée is made up of 50% Lula Estate grapes, 25% Peterson Vineyard grapes, and 25% Costa Vineyard grapes. This wine has been a fan-favorite of the wine club since its introduction.
To be able to experience these wines, you’ll need to join our wine club!
The Portfolio of Wines Available to all of our Community
Lula Vineyard Pinot Noir (300 cases produced): The Lula Vineyard Pinot Noir made its debut with the inaugural 2018 vintage. This wine is made entirely with grapes from the Lula Estate. Our team selected specific rows and clones that we felt would create our highest-quality wine. The ultimate vision is that the Lula Vineyard Pinot Noir will evolve into a reserve wine representing the finest Pinot Noir in our portfolio. Let’s just say the first vintage has not disappointed, receiving high accolades from both the Wine Enthusiast and Sunset Magazine.
Guntly Red (500 cases produced): This Pinot Noir-driven blend is a result of the 2015 vintage that left us with excess Zinfandel and Pinot Noir juice that had gone through fermentation but was not destined for one of our single-varietal wines. We were left with the question of what should we do? Unconventionally, we experimented with a predominantly Pinot Noir-blend influenced by the Zinfandel, and we had a hit!
This wine is named after the road our property resides upon, and it’s a perfect mid-week blend that goes great with a burger, tacos, or just about anything off the BBQ.
Chardonnay (450 cases): It is commonly thought that where you can grow high-quality Pinot Noir, you can also grow high-quality Chardonnay. These Chardonnay grapes are from the Valley Foothill Vineyard, about two miles from our Estate in the Anderson Valley. While we say that we developed this wine consistent with our vision to create world-class, single-vineyard wines that demonstrate the diversity of the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County, Lula insiders know that, in reality, it’s because Chardonnay is Ken’s wife, Joni’s favorite wine. You know what they say, “happy wife, happy life!” Make sure to stay tuned for the release of our 2019 Chardonnay.
Gewürztraminer (150-200 cases produced): This instantly became a Lula white wine lovers’ favorite! The reputation of the Anderson Valley started with Gewürztraminer and other Alsatian varietals. But over time, it became clear that the valley was also uniquely suited for Pinot Noir, which started to muscle out the Gewürztraminer. However, there is still a strong following for this varietal and we planted an acre on our Estate to ensure that our loyal customers could get their beloved wine.
Most guests that join us for a tasting have a preconceived notion about Gewürztraminer as a syrupy, sweet wine that their parents used to drink. When we point out that our Gewürztraminer is dry (meaning no residual sugar), light, and aromatic wine, they take a sip, and the next words are generally, “wow, that is really good and not what I expected at all.”
Rosé of Pinot Noir (300 cases produced): Our team hand selected the grapes to produce this wine. Coming from the Day Ranch Vineyard two miles from our Estate, this wine is made from the Beaujolais clone of Pinot Noir (not to be confused with the grape varietal Beaujolais or the French wine appellation). These vines were planted in 1975 and are roughly 45 years old. We directly press the grapes upon arrival at the winery and limit the contact of the juice with the skins to give it that light salmon color. The vision for this Rosé is a French Blanc de Noir Champagne without the bubbles. It is hands down the perfect aperitif wine!
If you’ve recently discovered our brand or have been a loyal fan for years, we thank you for taking the time to join us for this three-part series of the Story Behind Lula Cellars! If you’re interested in any of the above wines from our portfolio, they are all available online or through our club memberships. If you’re not a member already, we would love for you to join the family!