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Ruth Lewandowski

Naomi Grenache Gris 2019 - Ruth Lewandowksi - Utah , USA 75cl

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“Natural wine is the true expression of the land by way of a grapevine. I’m not interested in debating exactly WHAT natural wine is. People get all up tight about numbers and definitions in the wine world. It tends to be easier explaining exactly what natural wine is not.

It is not industrially farmed with the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides and fungicides and fertilizers. It isn’t an industrially produced beverage product through employing unnecessary amounts of sulphur, without cultured ‘designer’ yeast and/or bacteria strains, and the myriad of other techno cellar wizardry products we have at our fingertips these days. No acid additions, no sugar, no water, no tannin, no filtration for filtration’s sake, etc etc. Insomuch as it is possible, I strive to produce wine made of SOLELY grape juice. That is, to me, the true expression of the land via the grapevine”.

Sourced from the famous Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, Chilion is Evan’s singular take on Cortese. As Evan remarks the grapes gradually turn the most beautiful opalescent apricot hue in the vineyard and gather some very interesting cognac-like spice and this was his impetus to skin-ferment the Chilion. “I couldn’t simply ditch the skins in the compost heap. So just like a red wine, the Chilion fermented to complete dryness and finished its malolactic fermentation, bubbling away for just over seven weeks before I decided to press

And what wines! For starters a thrilling Grenache Gris called Naomi from dry-farmed centenarian vines in McDowell Valley in Mendocino County. He ferments whole-cluster, presses the fruit and separates the juice from the skins to ferment in egg shaped tank. The manually controlled press cycle is a long, fairly rough one to extract a higher than average amount of phenolic material from the beautiful, very unique fruit.

After about three weeks, native alcoholic fermentation was complete, and by the end of November the malolactic conversion had also taken place naturally. Naomi saw no winemaking additions of any kind except for a scant 20ppm of So2 at bottling. It is unfined, unfiltered, and completely intriguing. There truly is no better indication that your vineyard and the subsequent fruit born of the vineyard are healthy than a naturally healthy fermentation. Without the ‘help’ of cultured yeast, bacteria, yeast nutrient, fining agents, filtration, or sulfur during the winemaking process, one is entirely at the whim of the organisms that exist in the vineyard and in one’s winery.

Fermented and aged naturally (without the ‘help’ of cultured yeast, bacteria, yeast nutrient, fining agents, filtration, or sulphur) in both egg-shaped tank and old, neutral barrique, Chilion is another mould-breaker. First off, it is orange. The nose bequeaths a captivating mix of apricots and golden apple, that aforementioned cognac spice and candied orange rind. The palate is equally as enigmatic suggestive of quince and baking spice and crushed rocks. It’s got refreshing acidity, a pleasing amount of tannin and at 12.9% abv, it is deceptively light yet with the sturdiness to age.


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