Lula is a relative newcomer to the Anderson Valley pinot noir scene, but it is making quite a splash. Since they opened their new tasting room in late 2014, they’ve also become a prime attraction for visitors. This is the Anderson Valley as it was meant to be – joyful winemakers, a beautiful property, and world-class wines.
Rustic charm meets casual elegance at Lula Cellars
You’ll find Lula just off the highway outside of Philo, on Guntley Road, next door to Handley Cellars. There’s a beautiful vineyard on the property, as well as a vegetable garden, and it’s a nice place to sit and picnic after you’ve tasted. It is a very pet-friendly tasting room, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend – they’re likely to have company.
Lula is one of an increasing number of wineries making amazing pinot noir out of grapes that come from the small hamlet of Comptche – and to my mind this is the most under-appreciated growing region in California. Comptche fruit is unlikely anything else, and winemaker Jeff Hansen uses it to excellent effect in these wines.
Tasting here is a treat, not just because of the wines, but because of the company. If you’re lucky, the winemaker will be around to pour for you and chat with you about what went into the wine. If he’s not here, don’t worry, the tasting room staff here is among the friendliest and most educated you’ll find anywhere in California. Above all, Lula Cellars keeps things light – quality without pretension seems to be the watchword here, embodying the Anderson Valley spirit.
The signature pinot noir wines are the stars of the show here, but be sure to try some of the other offerings as well. A jammy zinfandel from Dan Dooling’s incredible Mariah vineyard up on Mendocino Ridge is a lovely treat for fruity zin lovers, a dry gewürztraminer makes an excellent wine with the local crab, a pinot gris is a nice introduction to the fairly traditional Anderson Valley style of Alsace varietal wines, and the rosato of pinot noir is an absolutely perfect wine.