2019 Ruth Lewandowski Wines 'L. Stone Zero’ Sangiovese
Region: Mendocino < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; whole cluster fermentation in open top stainless steel and Flextank eggs without temperature control; aged for 10 months in Flextank eggs and 1 year in neutral puncheons; bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero additions, not even SO2; zero-zero; 13% ABV
Winemaker Evan Lewandowski
Oh how we love Evan’s wines – and so do all of you, apparently, as they’re becoming harder and harder to get. Quick refresher on this label: Utah-boy Evan used to buy fruit from organic vineyards in California and truck the fermenting juice cross country in a refrigerated U-Haul to make the wine in Utah, he has now moved his production to California. So, it’s the same delicious juice with a lower carbon footprint. Win!
L. Stone is Evan's take on a variety that, in California, rarely lives up to the Tuscan standard. For Sangiovese fans—those that love the leather, the book shelf, the dried cherry, the licorice spice and baked earth; those that love density and levity and taut structure—New World versions usually disappoint. But the L. Stone gets it right, and has become Evan's top wine -- and new Fox Hill vineyard flagship. In the words of winemaker Evan Lewandowski himself, "Why would anyone be surprised at all by this wine? Fox Hill is an incredible vineyard site and has proven it's merit in numerous ways with numerous producers in both red and white format."
Speaking of the magical Fox Hill vineyard, which rests between Hopland and Ukiah just up from the Russian River on an uplifted former riverbed, the soil is is very rocky and pebbly, with a large amount of quartz (grapes love this). The vineyard was replanted in the late 80's by an Italian wine lover named Lowell Stone (hence the wines name, L. Stone) who replaced the mostly Chardonnay and Riesling vines with a bunch of obscure Italian varieties (plus a few acres of two Portuguese varieties thrown in for good measure). Today, it's a library of grapevines from nurseries, friends, and the odd 'suitcase' cuttings from Italy.
And the L.Stone Sangiovese would make its namesake proud - this is classic, old-school Sangio, with all of the leather, dried red fruit, and spice you want in a tight, racy, acid- and mineral-driven package that makes it so good with food. We're obsessed with it. Share this one with your Italophile dad this holiday season, and note his surprise when you reveal he's drinking a zero-zero California Sangiovese and not his favorite Brunello....