Posts tagged #riesling

Ruth Lewandowski "Dinos to Diamonds"

lewandowksi dinos marissa a ross

Ruth Lewandowski "Dinos to Diamonds"
Varietal: Riesling
Region: Cole Ranch, California
Year: 2016
Price: ~$26
Distributor: Sylvester/Rovine

Full Disclosure: This bottle was sent to me as a gift from Evan Lewandowski. It was not in trade for a review, nor were there any other pretenses or promises of coverage. I just opened and loved it and now here we are, as we are with all wines posted. 

It was 2014, and I was a bit drunk at a tasting at Silverlake Wine, when a bottle of Ruth Lewandowski's "Boaz" Carignan started making the rounds. The wine was incredible, but what struck me the most was that it was made by some dude in Utah. I didn't actually meet that dude, Evan Lewandowski, or taste through his entire portfolio until this past March, but he has quickly become one of my favorite domestic winemakers. 

"Dinos to Diamonds" was only an adorable Instagram mirage as far as I knew, as fleeting as everything else enviable on my feed. Until it showed up on my doorstep. The story behind this wine is just as endearing as its label, but it's also so much more: 

Way back in the day, in my 11 year old brain, it was perfectly reasonable and logical to hold the belief that diamonds were made of dinosaurs. Diamonds were simply former lumps of coal, compressed under mind boggling amounts of pressure while being subjected to a similarly unimaginable amount of heat for a bazillion years. This very same coal was merely ancient remains of animal and plant life, and I preferred to think that it was mainly comprised of extinct dinosaurs. “They’re called fossil fuels for a reason,” I figured, “and most of the fossils in the books at school are dinosaur bones.” Petroleum products from companies like Sinclair only confirmed my hypothesis. Being the sensitive kid that I was, I found the extinction of dinosaurs a bit disheartening. Ever the hopelessly optimistic child, however, I could still find solace in the fact that all these years later, something beautiful has come from such a horrendous situation. They may have gone extinct, but something incredible exists today despite the horror. Get it? Dinos to Diamonds. Its the same old story I’ve been hammering home from the beginning. Even in death, there will be beauty, there will be life. There will be light.

Dinos to Diamonds is a wine that will, in essence, “go extinct” each year, a complete one-off and an excuse for me to experiment with whatever may come my way each vintage. Despite the demise of each version, a great deal of life will spring forth because of its existence. All profits from this wine every year will go to charity. The organizations upon which we will focus will be ones that exist to give hope to the hopeless, to support and uplift individuals walking in darker days to help show them that there will be light. So, in the wake of the devastating wildfires that took so much from so many last month, I’ve chosen to donate 100% of the proceeds of this, the first iteration of Dinos to Diamonds, to wildfire relief efforts. More specifically, to an organization known as Undocufund.
— Evan Lewandowski

I didn't know any of that when I opened this bottle and decided to write about it, so I have to be honest and say it was for selfish reasons: Because I fucking loved it, and it's rare for me to fucking love white wine. 

dinos to diamonds

A single sip struck me like the brightest, shoulder-season sunshine beaming in through the windshield like the morning miles of a highly anticipated road trip. It's the first day of vacation, optimistic and excited, venturing into the treasured frontiers of America without any traffic or Burger Kings, because this is my god damned fantasy and you best believe it's taking place in a time when Perry Como would sing things like, "From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific." 

Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, "Dinos to Diamonds"...

It's like rolling down the windows and fresh wind rushing by your face. Everything is on the tip of your nose-- you can smell everything you're driving towards, and you can feel it. Desert roads, forest breezes. It's jazzy, but it's easy and cheery, like Lawrence Welk coming on shuffle. It's like breaking fresh citrus in half in your hands, and biting into a pear that's gotten warm in the passenger seat pocket, and licking the juice as it drips off your salty hands. 

And like all days that start bright, "Dinos to Diamonds" inevitably melts into a golden, liquid sunset of more pears and spiced tropical fruits. It's a very certain comfort, a warmth that comes from knowing you're close to your destination. It's a full experience, and an earnest, beautiful, and well balanced one at that. 

It's the shit postcards are made of. 

Aside from its complexity and incredible balance, I am also so impressed by how clean "Dinos to Diamonds" is. Zero flaws at bottle opening, and after being corked and refrigerated for two days, only saw the slightest oxidation, which did not affect the taste of the wine negatively at all. It just made those pear and papaya notes a little deeper and a little nuttier, and I have no complaints. This is a wine you could serve to anyone, and they would have a hard time finding a reason not to drink the whole bottle.

And then plan a road trip to Utah to drink even more of it. 

Tasting Notes: 1960's dandelion yellow in color. Smells like fresh guava with dewy leaves still clinging to its branches, pear, pine, and a splash of margarita mix. Tastes like a juiced mix of lemons, pineapple, grapefruit pith, spiced papaya, sea salt, and pine needles cascading down the limestone terraces of Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs. Squeaky clean with shining acidity, a waxy texture and a long finish that keeps you thirsty for more. 

Ross Test: Like chugging passion fruit lemonade from a cold limestone goblet. GAHHH!!! 😍😍😍

marissa a. ross dinos to diamonds

Leitz Out Rieseling


Leitz Out Riesling
Price: $15.99
Year: 2013
Region: Germany
Retailer: DomaineLA

I bought this because the label. Obviously. How was I going to ignore something that I thought said "Lez Out" and has a tagline as strong as "A Super-Sassy Riesling Spectacular!" 

You'd be crazy to see this and not buy it. 

I'm very particular about Rieslings because I don't like sweet wines. My homeboy at Domaine, Dylan, had not tried this so it was a gamble. I put my sixteen bucks on "Witty" and "Great design" and rolled the dice. 

This is like the Zooey Deschanel's of wine. Yes, Zooey has been "sassy" in her career, but these days she is super pretty and palatable in a perfect sundress. She's drinkable and lovely and says silly things that make you tune into television on Tuesday nights. Zooey, if you think about it, is really quite "witty" with "great design".  She's lovable. And you love her too. Even if you can't admit it, there is something deep down that makes you melt a little over Zooey, and there is nothing you can do about it. She's just, sweet. 

And so is this wine.
It's 100% likable.

That being said, this wine isn't for me. I think the winemaker and myself have very different definitions of "sassy", and that's okay. Just like I don't regularly watch New Girl, it doesn't mean I don't get it; it just means I'm not going to buy it every week. 

But I bet, most of America would love to. 

This wine is really well made. I genuinely hope if you like fuller/sweeter Rieslings, you check it out.

And the label, is still one of the best labels I've ever seen. EVER. That in itself was worth the $16.

Tasting Notes: VERY big bouquet, smells like a blossoming orange tree. The palate is a pound of pressed peaches with a touch of orange zest and a dash of salt. Really well-balanced with a little minerality. It's definitely sweet. I had my boyfriend taste it too, so it's not just me. It's a sweeter wine. So, enjoy you sweet wine lovers! 

Ross Test: So damn easy. LORDY. Fuck a glass, just drink the whole thing like you're standing in front of your fridge without any pants at midnight, right out of the bottle. 

3:11AM EDIT:
So, I not so accidentally took some painkillers and started watching Sex & The City with my best friend, but then she left, but I am still obviously awake. I ran out of Pinot, so I turned back to this warm Riesling that has been sitting on my shelf since 8PM.

I have to say, I enjoy this Riesling 120% more warm than I did cold. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. This wine is much more drinkable at room temperature. While watching Carrie and Big start dating again. Because I've only ever seen two seasons of this. Because I just started watching it. Oooops.




Alright, time to wash my face for forty-five minutes because it feels so good.


Posted on January 8, 2015 .