2020 Ruth Lewandowski Wines, Feints, Fox Hill Vineyard, Mendocino County.
The new Feints Cal Ital blend from Ruth Lewandowski Wines is, even as they put it, a totally unexpected wine made from mostly Piedmontese varieties, though with a small dose of Montepulciano as well, but what makes it so unique is that it has 30% Arneis, the white grape, in the mix with 33% Dolcetto, 15% Barbera, 14% Nebbiolo and the mentioned 8% of the Montepulciano, which makes for a serious fun fresh Spring time quaffer. This lighter styled natural wine starts with a bright vibrant cherry, crushed raspberry and strawberry fruit core along with a hint of grilled citrus, wild herbs, a sense of red peach flesh and floral aromas that all adds up to a red wine that deserves to be enjoyed with a chill and lots of laughter. There’s always something underlying in the Lewandowski wines that makes you forget about the worries of the day and you can tell that this wines, while simply pleasing are also serious efforts that are made with a commitment to quality, I am a fan of the Boaz most of all, it is a blend of old vine Carignan, old vine Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is one of the most powerful and intriguing of the natty wines in California. This friendly Feints has a lovely magenta hue in the glass and displays a clean and crisp personality, it drinks somewhat more like an Italian Rosato, but with enough complex dimension to go with a full meal, but especially good with picnics.
Winemaker Evan Lewandowski, who named his label after The Book of Ruth from the old testament and believes that (this) story of the circle of life and redemption, which includes the line “Death is, indeed, the engine of life…” encapsulates his own philosophies of farming (which are holistic) and winemaking (all natural), is one maybe the king of the modern American natural wine movement and has been an inspiration to a whole generation of young winemakers searching to explore their own paths in the wine world. His wines show a clean intensity and purity of form, these are not hippie, dirty or any flaw allowed wines, and there is no mouse or brett to be found here, in my own experience. For the 2020 Feints, Evan went full carbonic maceration, which gives this wine its juicy roundness and as Lewandowski adds, its punchiness, it was spontaneous co-fermented without any additions and a minimalist approach with only a few months of lees aging before being bottled up quickly to preserve its refreshing vitality. Lewandowski used all of the Piedmontese varieties found at the Fox Hill Vineyard, including as noted, Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Arneis and a hair of Montepulciano all of which are set on sandstone based soils, which Evan notes is very rocky and pebbly, with a large amount of quartz, all of which helps this site produce exceptional grapes with a mineral tone and ripe flavors, which shows here in an easy and enjoyable way. If you want to explore natty California or Glou Glou wines these Lewandowski bottlings are some of the best on offer.
($25 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive