Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adventures in Napa, Part 2: Cliff Lede Vineyards

As mentioned in the last post, Adventures in Napa, Part 1, it was recommended that we visit Cliff Lede’s (pronounced Lay-dee) tasting room.  It’s an extraordinary place where the wines are awesomely wonderful and the staff is as friendly as any I’ve encountered in Napa.

I mentioned Tom in the last post but we also had another pourer, nicknamed Marmot (he’s not a furry little rodent, however) and his first name is John.  First, all the pourers paid the utmost personal attention to each and every visitor; no one was short changed time-wise or with  information.  Secondly, the repartee between the staff was fun to watch and entertaining.  Ah, and their supervisor, a very attractive woman, also joined in the fun and games.  I mention this, because it was a Saturday, when the wineries in Napa can get crowded and the pourers don’t have or take the time to interact with their clientele, but at Cliff Lede’s it was very relaxed and the exchanges were delightful.  Kudos to whomever is responsible for their training and the tasting room culture.

Before I get to the wines, it must also be mentioned that the winery is very supportive of the fine arts and there is a small gallery with some really incredible art.  In the garden was a sculpture by Jim Dine and in the gallery were works by Frank Stella and Robert Indiana.  Indiana is the artist that created the famous LOVE sculpture that once graced postage stamps.  I’m sure that many of you remember that stamp.  A smaller version of the LOVE sculpture was in the gallery, the other being on the streets of New York City.

Lede’s offers two different tastings, A sparkling wine and a still wine tasting, each at $20.00, so it’s not inexpensive, but they were worth every penny.

Tom did the pouring of the sparklers which included:

1999 S. Anderson Diva, with complex aromas of mandarin and green apple and a taste of citrus.  $55.00 a bottle.

2000 S. Anderson Diva, with aromas of apple, honey, and fig, and a taste of apple and nectarines.  $55.00 a bottle.

2001 S. Anderson Diva.  This was my favorite of the three with aromas of lemon and tastes of lemon, honey, and apple.  A blend of 2/3 Chardonnay, and 1/3 Pinot Noir.  Also, $55.00 a bottle.

Next, Marmot (John) poured the still wines, three 2006 Cabernet Sauvignons:

2006 Claret, Stags Leap District, with 57% Cabernet, 36% Merlot, and 7% Cab Franc. Aromas of fig, cacao, and cassis and blackberry and cherry on the palette.  
$40.00 a bottle.

2006 Cabernet, St. Helena with 75% Cabernet, 13% Merlot, and 12% Cab Franc. Cherry and cacao on the nose and currants and orange in the mouth.  $65.00 a bottle.

2006 Cabernet, Stags Leap District.  This wine scored 92 points from Robert Parker who called it “the best value in Napa.”  Lots of spices and black currant aromas and dark cherry on the palette.  $60.00 a bottle.  Being a Parker “best value,” we bit and went happily home with two bottles of this Cabernet.

In short, I can’t say enough about the Cliff Lede Vineyard and our experience there.  I urge any of you readers to be certain to visit when you get to Napa.

The next post will be Part 3 of our very eventful journey.  Next, a blending class and an extraordinary tasting at Duckhorn Vineyards.

Tom da Wine Guy


At March 3, 2010 at 2:46 PM , Blogger Rita said...

Tom - I loved both parts 1 and 2 and look forward to part 3 whenever. Thanks for the wine tips, too.

At March 6, 2010 at 1:55 PM , Blogger Tom da Wine Guy said...

Thank you, Rita. I shall soon be publishing two more "Adventures in Napa" posts, Parts 3 and 4. Hopefully, that will be it on Napa for awhile.

At March 8, 2010 at 7:38 AM , Blogger 檢查 said...



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