Cliff Lede

Poetry in a Bottle

Elegant... brilliant color.... lush and velvety.... fine cherry and red berry flavors... soft tannins.... Those notes capture Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stags Leap AVA. In the summer, these jagged, southwest-facing hills, stretching from the northeastern Napa City limits to the outer edge of Yountville, are toasted by the hot afternoon sun but cooled by the nighttime fog that rolls in off the San Pablo Bay. This climate along with well-drained alluvial and volcanic soils are the reason why Stags Leap wineries focus almost exclusively on Cabernet – the district works magic with the Bordeaux varietals.  Purchasing vineyards and a winery near Yountville in 2002 makes Cliff Lede (pronounced Lay-dee) a newcomer to the Napa Valley, yet he grasped instinctively that his estate’s raison d’etre was to make transcendent Cabernet. With his vineyard manager, David Abreu, he has revived or replanted the vineyards and divided them into blocks according to varietal as well as subtle shifts in soil type, clonal or rootstock selection. The 60-acre estate comprises two diverse sets of vineyard. On the valley floor, the Twin Peaks Ranch surrounds the winery and contains all five of the major Bordeaux varietals. The Poetry Vineyard – mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and a bit of Cab Franc and Petit Verdot – is situated on the hills that rise up from the opposite side of the Silverado Trail.  In the state-of-the-art, gravity-flow winery, grapes are meticulously hand-sorted and the wines may be fermented in egg-shaped cement tanks as well as more traditional stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. More significantly, each vineyard block will be fermented separately, ensuring that the particular qualities of each small patch of soil will have a chance to blossom before the final blend is made. Though many of the choices made in the vineyards and winery are labor intensive and costly, Cliff Lede is willing to make them in order to fashion the sort of wine expected from a part of the Earth as special as Stags Leap. 

Wines from this Winery

2015 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Most of the fruit in this seductive Sauvignion Blanc came from an old vineyard near Rutherford planted to the Musqué clone of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The density, richness and citrus flavors came from these vines. Other sources included vineyards in southeastern Napa, which brought brightness, minerality, acidity and finesse to the wine. The dry conditions of 2015 led to an early harvest with the vines yielding small quantities of concentrated fruit. If you like Sauvignon Blanc that’s full-bodied, richly-textured and gorgeously perfumed, this wine is for you! Meticulous sorting and a varied program of fermentation and aging have produced a whirlwind of aroma and flavor: citrus, peach, honey blossom and jasmine come together in a mouthful that is rich and fleshy but structured with minerality and fresh acidity.

Details
¥ 4,700
2014 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

Cliff Lede’s exemplary SLV Cab is the product of two estate vineyards: the Twin Peaks Ranch Vineyard, surrounding the winery, and the  Poetry Vineyard on the eastern slopes. The combination of ancient riverbed and rocky, volcanic soils gives the wine awesome depth, complexity and a minerality that’s characteristic of Stags Leap and reminiscent of Graves. Because of a dry winter in 2014, the vines responded with an early bud break and harvest. On the other hand, mild temperatures throughout the summer encouraged consistent ripening and fruit with excellent concentration. The result is a rich wine that’s inky purple, aromatically alluring, intensely flavored yet elegant and finessed - a “stunner” according to  Robert Parker. A wine so rich as this would pair well with steak au poivre, ragout of beef or lamb or braised duck breast.

Details
¥ 11,900
2010 Cliff Lede Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Cliff Lede Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon

Low yielding, old vines growing in a hillside vineyard produced this “bottled poetry.” Overlooking the winery, the Poetry Vineyard boasts a south-west exposure, guaranteeing not only a beautiful view but warm late-afternoon sun. The vineyard is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon with a couple blocks devoted to Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The well-drained volcanic soil forces vines to focus more energy on seeking moisture deep in the earth than on producing grapes. As a result the berries are small and packed with flavor. Though 2010 was challenging with a cool summer and heat spikes in the fall, the team responded with careful vineyard management and meticulous berry sorting so that only the best fruit  made it into the wine. The result is a wine with such concentration and structure it could be laid down for young children to enjoy in adulthood. But with the pleasure it delivers now, why wait?

Details
¥ 34,000
Out of Stock