2019 Ruth Lewandowski Wines, Boaz Red, Testa Vineyard – Zero, Mendocino County.
The alluring and deep colored Boaz Red is made from old vine Carignan, mostly, plus some very old vine Grenache and good dose of what Evan Lewandowski, the natural winemaker his Ruth Lewandowski Wines calls the sexiest Cabernet Sauvignon (fruit) he’s seen, all from Mendocino’s organically farmed Testa Vineyard, a real hot spot for exceptional Carignan, which drives this outstanding red blend. The Carignan is all from vines close to 100 years old and its just awesome here in this wine with loads of blue and black fruit, touches of spice, loamy earth and beautiful floral notes. The Testa Vineyard, a sixth generation family run site, has been farmed since 1912 and is close to Ukiah in the Redwood Valley area of Mendocino County, and is set on a combination of sandy loams, alluvial deposits and sedimentary (rocky) soils. This Boaz really impresses with its 76% Carignan, the 13% of Cabernet Sauvignon and its 9% Grenache all playing influential roles here, it reminds me a little of Maxime Magnon’s awesome Corbieres and even a bit of Laurent Vaillé’s famous Grange des Pere, which is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Mourvèdre, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Counoise! This Boaz goes extremely well with robust foods and simple meat dishes as well as woodsy wild mushrooms, hard cheeses and roast chicken over bitter greens.

Evan says his Boaz is from three parcels off the Testa Ranch and are picked together and co-fermented using 100% whole cluster and native yeasts without additions and or added SO2, all to produce a natural style wine, but one with a burly intensity, rich fruit density and with the nice acidity of this vintage, this is wonderfully balanced and laser focused with a structure that age. Lewandowski says to make his wines, everything is done to make them in the vineyard and concentrates on getting ripe and health grapes, so his job in the cellar can be as low intervention as possible and he adds that this is all started with healthy soils and holistic care in the vines. He is one of the most precise in his handling of the fruit, no short cuts and everything in the winemaking is clean and meticulously cared for, all of which shows in these wines, especially this robust and expressive Boaz, maybe my favorite of Evan’s lineup, certainly in this vintage it is. This wine is label Zero, as a reference to the fact that there was absolutely no added sulfites at any stage of the winemaking, nor at bottling, which was done unfined and unfiltered. If you are looking for what California natural wine can be, this one is a must, it is a killer bottle that opens nicely, when the tannins settle, with black raspberry, dark currant and kirsch along with anise, cinnamon and herbs de Provence, brilliant stuff.
($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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