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A small production label (2,500 cases) owned by winemaker Jeff Hansen, a twenty-five year wine industry veteran who was previously the winemaker and part owner of Amici Cellars in Mendocino County, California. He made his first Pinot Noir in 2002 from grapes grown in the Mendocino Coastal town of Comptche and since then, all of his Pinot Noirs have come from that area. Hansen eventually left Amici, moved to the Mendocino Coast and started Lula Cellars.
Lula was the name of Hansen's grandmother, who was born in 1879 in Oklahoma, and lived to the ripe age of 89.
In 2012, three Pinot Noirs were offered: Costa Vineyard (Comptche, Mendocino County), Peterson Vineyard (Comptche, Mendocino County) and a Mendocino County blend of grapes from Comptche. Zinfandel, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and a Roato are also produced.
In October 2014, a new tasting room was opened on a 22-acre property in Anderson Valley. The new property has frontage along Hwy 128 in Philo (at the corner of Hwy 128 and Guntley Road next door to Handley Cellars), and includes a 14-acre Pinot Noir vineyard, a tasting room and a small production winemaking facility. In 2015, an event area is available for weddings and private parties. The tasting room is open daily from 10:00 to 6:00.
In May 2017, after more than 30 years of making California wines, Jeff Hansen announced he was stepping down as winemaker, but will retain the title of Founder, and will serve as Winemaker Emeritus and stay on in a consulting capacity for a year. Matt Parish will be the new winemaker.
The wines are only sold directly to consumers. 707-895-3737.
2014 Lula Costa Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.64, 362 cases, $45. Third release from this vineyard. 5 acres planted in 1998 in the coastal mountain town of Comptche, 700 feet above sea level. A blend of 65% Pommard and 35% Dijon 115 clones. Each was harvested, fermented and barrel aged separately, then blended after 12 months in barrel and aged a further 6 months before bottling. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackest cherry, forest floor and nutty oak lead off. Mid weight in style, with a core of black raspberry and blackberry fruits with an earthy bent.There is a modest riff of oak, the tannins are noticeable and the wine finishes with the slightest sense of alcoholic warmth. Score: 88. Reviewed April 19, 2017 ARTICLE »
2014 Lula Mendocino Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.62, 276 cases, $45. A blend of grapes from Peterson and Costa vineyards. 33% Pommard, 30% 115, 20% 667 and 15% 777. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, and an additional 6 months after blending. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is driven by oak aromas of toast, marzipan and vanilla with black fruits in the background. Silky in the mouth, with very ripe flavors of blackberry, prune and black grape underlain with nutty oak. The wine has good acidity, but the tannins are gutty. The excessive ripeness of the fruit and overbearing oak impair the experience. Score: 86. Reviewed April 19, 2017 ARTICLE »
2014 Lula Peterson Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.67, 400 cases, $45 (wine club exclusive). Vineyard planted in 1999 and located in the coastal mountain town of Comptche at 700 feet elevation. A blend of Pommard and Dijon 115, 667 and 777 clones, each harvested and fermented separately before blending after 12 months in barrel, and then aged an additional 6 months in barrel before bottling. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is reticent, even when checked the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Much more giving on the palate in a densely fruited and bold style that offers plenty of charm. Delicious flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with compliments of spice, vanilla and earth. Envious balance with integrated tannins and plenty of finishing power. This wine needs decanting if opened now but will most certainly benefit from a few more years in bottle. Score: 90. Reviewed April 19, 2017 ARTICLE »
2014 Lula Docker Hill Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.55, 157 cases, $50. First vintage from this vineyard. planted in 2010 in the coastal mountain town of Comptche, 8 miles southeast of the village of Mendocino. 5 acres at 900 feet elevation. Clones are Pommard, 777, “828,” 115 and Swan, each harvested and fermented separately. Aged 12 months before blending, then spent another 6 months in barrel before bottling. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose was slow to come around after opening, but became more expressive when sampled the following day from a previously opened bottle. Dark cherry and berry fruit aromas are echoed on the mid weight palate with added contributions of pine and caramel. Inviting natural acidity with silky tannins and a modest but enjoyable finish. Score: 89. Reviewed April 19, 2017 ARTICLE »
2011 Lula Mendocino Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 700 cases, $42. 65% Pommard, 30% 115 and 5% 777. Aged 14 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of old wood, mushroom, fire pit and peat lead to lighter weight flavors of dark cherry and black raspberry with an earthy undertone. Generous dry tannins arrive with a rush on the crisp, short finish. Score: 87. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Lula Mendocino Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 400 cases, $42 (sold out). Lula is the winemaker’s maternal grandmother. Grapes are grown near Comptche 16 miles south east of the coastal village of Mendocino. Vineyard planted in 1998. 60% Pommard, 35% 115, and 5% 777. Aged 12 months in 50% new French oak. Aged an additional 6 months in barrel after final blending. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Oak dominates the nose with appealing ancillary notes of black cherry, blackberry, cola, earthy flora, and spice. Tasty black cherry and boysenberry fruit offers dramatic mid palate intensity and finish. Mid to full bodied with balanced tannins and a long finish. Score: 89. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »
2007 Lula Cellars Mendocino Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 315 cases, $39. Lula is winemaker Jeff Hansen’s maternal grandmother’s name. Hansen was previously the winemaker and owner of Amici Cellars in Napa. The inaugural release from a 5-acre vineyard planted in 1998 in the mountain town of Comptche, 10 miles east of village of Mendocino. 65% pommard, 30% Dijon 115 and 5% Dijon 777. 4-day cold soak. Aged 18 months in 50% new French oak. Great label. · Moderately deep purplish-red color in the glass. Brooding aromas of plum sauce, dark berry melange, and leaf. Charming fruit core replete with vivid flavors of black plums, black raspberries and blackberries persisting on the intensely aromatic finish. Perfectly integrated oak and well proportioned ripe tannins. This wine has real mountain character, tasting like other intriguing Pinots I have had from Comptche, a little-known, but superb growing area for Pinot Noir. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »