Skip to main content
Sangiovese

Sangiovese

When we first starting working with Evan Lewandowski on this year's vintages, we felt his immense passion seeping through his every word. And nowhere is it more tangible than in his love for Fox Hill Vineyard. Lowell Stone's vineyard is inspired by both his affection for his wife Barbara and his deep connection with Italy's wine culture. It inspired him to re-plant the once Chardonnay and Reisling-filled vineyards with both popular and obscure Italian varietals, many of which make up some of Evan's prized wines. And one of which, caught our eye as we were plucking our 2019 harvest.

Sangiovese is a grape known for vast diversity, filling the cheap cups of Chianti and prized glasses of Brunello. The chameleon of Tuscany, the blood of Jupiter. But here in Mendocino, it is mutated into a grape that so well binds the stories of its history with the terroir of its new home. Nestled between Ukiah and Hopland, the soil here is uplifted riverbed, sandstone in dominance, with smatterings of quartz found among each step.  Nature shows its face in the grapes, without changing the alluring substance of ripe fruit and spice to which we have become accustomed.

Our night wine develops from its unique vinification. The grapes were selected in later October and foot-treaded to begin fermentation. The grapes continued the first two-thirds of its fermentation at ambient temperatures in transit to our winery in North Carolina. Upon arrival, the grapes were pressed off skins and the final third of fermentation continued in steel tanks. This process eschews typical preservation methodologies, embracing purely natural and spontaneous fermentation upon the skins and stems, before being separated from them to complete its course. We then aged it in 100% neutral oak for 4 months before bottling.

A vinification path has its benefits, allowing a robust fruit-driven palate to take flight before spice and earthy characteristics begin to overwhelm the wine. And so this wine purveys in a gorgeous bouquet of pie cherry, fruit leather, licorice, baking herbs and subtle earthiness. The tannin structure is persuasive, while a moderate acidity allows for perfect culinary pairing. We dig a bottle with confited rooster, braised beef cheeks, and aged manchego. Decant your bottle to watch it develop, as the sweet alcohols temper into vast depth.

Vinification Notes:

Vineyard: Fox Hill Vineyard
Planted: 1991
Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
ABV: 14%
Harvest: Mid-October 2019
Soil: Sandstone
Vinification: whole cluster fermentation at ambient temperatures in bins upon skins and stems; pressed into steel for final one-third of fermentation; malolactic completed in neutral oak for 4 months
Bottling: no added sulfites
Aging: Drink Fresh

Grenache

Grenache

The story of life is pronounced by its embrace of death. Life is a tale of redemption in the face of certain demise, and grapes flourish only to tell the story of their unique qualities for, often, a short time. Lost Hills Ranch has its own path, one of restoration and ensuing renewal, that resonates just too damn well for us. Perched at between 1000 and 2200 feet in the Yorkville Highlands AVA, the slopes of the farm are encased in sandstone and schist, the latter being an intriguing parallel for many of our favorite French and Spanish wines.

The farm was originally generated as a growing grounds for Marietta Cellar founder Chris Bilbro. He found a special place for Grenache on the slope in 2002, where it remained until a planned re-planting scheme spelled certain doom for this wildly jammy and phenolic cluster of fruit. We found great pleasure in helping send it off, and with the graces of the farm’s new steward, Idlewild’s Sam Bilbro, we snagged a few tons for this years day wine, as well as a collaboratory beerwine blend with Ruth Lewandowski Wines.

Our day wine is a product of its changing environment. Selected in October and foot-treaded before resting on the skins, it began fermentation in the bins, before continuing at ambient temperatures in transit across the country to our winery in North Carolina. This process is a deviation from typical preservation methodologies, embracing purely natural and spontaneous fermentation upon the skins and stems, before being separated from them in its final moments of activity and moved into steel. We then aged it in 100% neutral oak for 4 months before bottling.

The intention of our vinification process was to allow the abundant natural tannins to pair with ample wild strawberry, star anise, steeped orange peel, sweet cherry juice and classic white peppercorn, a product of fostering its naturally-occurring wild yeast. The wine’s grip is purely from skin and stem tannins, as the pH remains naturally high and uncorrected. This wine was also bottled and cellared without sulfites, with the intention to not age the wine and to drink it fresh. Just 12% alcohol, the fruit and spice is not overwhelmed by the presence of alcohol. We dig drinking this wine in the sun with soft cow milk cheeses and fresh bitter lettuces.

Vinification Notes:

Vineyard: Lost Hills Ranch
Planted: 2002
Varietal: 100% Grenache
ABV: 12%
Harvest: Mid-October 2019
Soil: Sandstone and Schist
Vinification: whole cluster fermentation at ambient temperatures in bins upon skins and stems; pressed into steel for end of fermentation; malolactic in neutral oak for 4 months
Bottling: no added sulfites
Aging: Drink Fresh

Sweet Vermouth of Pinot Noir 2018

Sweet Vermouth of Pinot Noir 2018

A fortified and sweetened wine aromatized with 16 different roots, herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers carefully selected to transform an already complex wine into an otherworldly experience. Open your mind and let it wander. Be enchanted by the gifts of nature. Drink in the visuals of your imagination as you pick through elegant notes of blooming rose, candied hibiscus, brandied cherry, orange vapors, creamy marshmallow, pungent cinnamon, warm rhubarb pie, cranberry ginger ale, hearty juniper, desert sage, breezy strolls along the Mediterranean coast, and the kind of bitterness that comes in realizing that this cannot last forever.

Production Notes:

Wine Grape Varietal: 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
ABV: Fortified with Brandy to 16.5%.
Harvest: Mid-September 2018.
Vinification: The grapes shipped cold from Oregon to North Carolina where we began foot treading on site. Fermented on the skins at ambient temperatures for 14 days. Racked to 100% neutral oak barrels and aged for 18 months. Subsequently racked and blended before fortification with brandy.
Bittering: Gentian, Galangal, Dandelion Root.
Aromatization: Macerated on 16 additional roots, herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers.
Bottling: no added sulfites.
Aging: Can be aged, un-opened, for a year or more. Once opened, we recommend vacuum sealing, refrigerating, and finishing as soon as possible. Please refrigerate once opened to keep this product preserved.

Dry Vermouth of Pinot Gris 2018

Dry Vermouth of Pinot Gris 2018

A fortified wine aromatized with 28 different roots, herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers carefully selected to transform an already complex wine into an otherworldly experience. Open your mind and let it wander. Be enchanted by the gifts of nature. Drink in the visuals of your imagination as you pick through elegant notes of bitter gentian, grapefruit vapors, blooming chamomile, ripe berries and their leaves, sticky vanilla paste, a bakers gift of cinnamon, clove, and ginger, nostalgic root beer left to go flat, a relaxed stroll through an open air market, and warm light illuminating spring flowers on the edge of a damp forest.

Production Notes:

Wine Grape Varietals: 80% Willamette Valley Pinot Gris and 20% Applegate Valley Viognier.
ABV: Fortified with Brandy to 17%.
Harvest: Mid-September 2018.
Vinification: The grapes shipped cold from Oregon to North Carolina where we began foot treading on site. The Viognier was treaded and pumped off skins for a cold, temperature-aided fermentation for 20 days. The Pinot Gris was foot treaded and then fermented on the skins at ambient temperatures for 14 days. Both wines were racked to 100% neutral oak barrels and aged for 18 months. Subsequently racked and blended before fortification with brandy.
Bittering: Gentian, Galangal, Dandelion Root.
Aromatization: Macerated on 25 additional roots, herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers.
Bottling: no added sulfites.
Aging: Can be aged, un-opened, for a year or more. Once opened, we recommend vacuum sealing, refrigerating, and finishing as soon as possible.  Please refrigerate once opened to keep this product preserved.