|Wineries in California:
When Canadian businessman Cliff Lede (LAY-dee) first happened upon the site of his future 60-acre vineyard in the northern part of the Stags Leap District in 2002, he was delighted to find some of his favorite Bordeaux vines already planted. Gazing at the rows of hearty Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, he saw his opportunity to take Bordeaux varietals to a whole new level.
Cliff formed a seasoned winemaking team, consisting of Vineyard Manager David Abreu, Winemaker Michelle Edwards, and Winemaking Consultant Michel Rolland. By the 2005 harvest, a new state-of-the-art winery was in working order, complete with an expanded 25,000 square feet of caves, three-stage hand-sorting system, and unique truncated tanks designed to create a higher skin-to-juice ratio for deeper color and greater concentration.
Drawing on grapes from estate vineyards named after rock-’n- roll songs rather than letters or numbers, the winery offers two wine brands. The Cliff Lede brand highlights Bordeaux varietal wines from its Stags Leap District estate, while the grapes for the Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon hail from the steep terraces of its Stags Leap District acreage.
The vineyards are located off the beaten path, offering visitors a respite complete with splendid views. Visitors are welcome to taste without an appointment, but those who call ahead can relax and sample each wine paired with a type of cheese or charcuterie, carefully selected by the resident chef. For those who want to stay longer, Poetry Inn, the only public accommodations in the Stags Leap District, is located on the property. The quiet inn provides three rooms for nightly rental. Each room boasts a wood-burning fireplace, fine Italian linens, and a private terrace. Guests have the privilege of choosing rare wines from the inn’s private cellar, which, not surprisingly, focuses on Bordeaux wines and rare Napa Cabs. Recently, Cliff Lede Vineyards received high praise from leading U.S. wine critic Robert Parker who wrote, “Readers looking for a future superstar from Napa need look no further.” With kudos like this, sunglasses may be in order for Cliff and his team.
What To Buy:
’08 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Citrus, honeysuckle, guava, desert wildflowers, dry land honey $22
‘06 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap Exotic spices, sweet marjoram, cardamom, star jasmine, persimmon $60
‘06 Moon Sympathy, Stags Leap Blueberries, tart cherry, fresh lavender, bounty of fruit, plum, perfume, cocoa $90
‘06 Poetry, Stags Leap Black licorice, blueberry pie, kirsch, sandalwood, nutmeg, dark ripe cherry, cassis $150
707.944.8642; Fax: 707.944.8020
1473 Yountville Cross Rd
Yountville, CA 94599
Tasting Room Open Daily 10–4
From Hwy 29, exit at Madison St. Turn right. At dead end, turn left onto Yount St and immediately turn right onto Yountville Cross Rd (1 ½ miles).
Touring & Tasting