Ruth Lewandowski Wines ~ Purity and Precision with 105 Year Old Vines…

The 2015 Naomi is 100% Grenache gris made by Evan Lewandowski, with 105 year old vines from the Gibson Ranch of Mendocino’s McDowell Valley. Rather than treating this fuchsia-toned grape like a red wine and macerating it with its skins, Evan whole cluster pressed the fruit and seperated the juice from the skins to ferment in an egg-shaped tank. The manually controlled press cycle was a long, fairly rough one to extract a higher than average amount of phenolic material from the beautiful, unique fruit.

After about three weeks, native alcoholic fermentation was complete along with malolactic fermentation. The 2015 Naomi saw no winemaking additions of any kind except for a scant 20ppm of SO2 before being bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Ruth Lewandowski Wines’ winemaker Evan Lewandowski

“Contrary to who most people imagine Ruth to be, she is not my mother, nor my grandmother, but my favorite book in the Bible.  Without sounding ‘preachy,’ and in the interest of concisely summing things up, there is no better depiction of death and redemption than the book of Ruth (who just happened to be from a town called “Moab”).  Much of my philosophy of farming and, in turn, winemaking is derived from this cycle of death and redemption (both in the physical realm we can see and the spiritual realm we often do not). Death is, indeed, the engine of life.” ~ Evan Lewandowski.

Tasting Note: Ruth Lewandowski Naomi Gibson Ranch 2015, California, 12 Abv. ~ Beautiful pale marmalade orange colour with a hint of pink blush. The nose is rich, expressive, pithy showing zesty marmalade jam, orange peel, salty briney gravelly minerals, wet river pebbles and an alka seltzer lift, dried herbs and grassy elderflower nuances. There is a fine density on the palate from these 105 year old Grenache Gris vines, with tangerine peel, lemon grass and spicy green pears. The subtle grape skin grip and spicy tannins add to the palate texture, all in beautiful balance. This is a complex, seductive wine that wills you to drink it! A real pleasure giver. No surprise then that this wine sold out within days of release… entering it into the unicorn lexicon! (Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Naomi’s Grenache Gris ferment

Fantastic Evening of Fine Wine at Home House…

Autumn is coming to an end and the Winter festive season is nearing. That means parties and of course plenty of corporate entertainment. Tonight myself and my colleague James were invited to Home House private members club to chat fine wine in a relaxed environment with 70 to 80 clients of one of our very good friends and leading fund manager, who has also been a loyal customer of ours for over 20 years. 

The wines to lubricate conversation? Three classic Cabernet Sauvignon based wines… Stags Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Napa Valley Stags Leap AVA at 13.5 Abv; Chateau Pontet Canet 2005 from Pauillac at 13 Abv; and Chateau Leoville Barton 2005 Saint Julien at 13 Abv. 

The great thing about these events, other than some very good banter, is hearing people’s previous experiences with the wines you’re tasting and seeing their preferences. Also, not only do you get to taste the same wine from 4 or 5 different bottles, but you get to drink glasses of a classic wine in a relaxed manner instead of speed tasting and judging the wine. 

The Stags Leap Cask 23 2009 was very popular as expected. Intensely satisfying layers of opulent black berry fruit, cassis and cherry spice, with gorgeous concentration and depth, and superbly integrated oak nuances. Impressive balance and textural harmony explains why this wine is described as the best Cask 23 since 1985 (95+/100). 

The Chateau Pontet Canet 2005 Pauillac made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, and was the first vintage fermented in small cement cuves. Such depth and intensity, creme de cassis, black and blue berry inky nobility, fresh taught vibrant acidity and massive, dense, sweet ripe tannin power. Also a lovely saline cassis finish on the wine. Just about approachable now but certainly a wine for 20 or 30 years plus (97/100). 

Lastly, the gentleman of the trio… the Leoville Barton 2005 from St Julien that was showing plenty of taught, fresh electric cassis fruit, oyster shell and salty black berries. Dramatic concentration and crunchy freshness, with a masculine texture, sweet ripe powerful tannins and massive persistent length. Enjoyable now but still way too youthful for real Bordeaux connoisseurs. But still fun to taste this wine in its adolescence. A real noble classic (96+/100).

Let the festive season descend!