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

2017 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

2017 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Cliff Lede’s Sauvignon Blanc balances bright flavors with a rich texture and expansive body. The complexity is derived largely from diverse vineyard sources in Rutherford, Calistoga, the Chiles Valley and Southwestern Napa; the advanced age of many of the vines; clonal variation (including some portion of the more aromatic Musqué clone); and, finally, the significant contribution of about 12% Semillon. Like the Bordelais, Cliff Lede adds Semillon in order to balance out the high-toned aromas with structure and weight. Meticulous sorting and careful attention paid to skin contact, fermentation and aging have produced a gorgeous melange of aroma and flavor: citrus, green apple, spring flowers and orange blossoms come together in a mouthful that is rich and fleshy but structured with minerality and fresh acidity.

Details
¥ 4,700
2015 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

Cliff Lede’s exemplary SLD 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. Another dry winter in 2015 led to an early bud break and harvest. Because the yields were low and the berries small, the fruit was highly concentrated and expressive. This wine expresses Stags Leap as few others can. It is opulent and intense yet structured and elegant with characteristic notes of black fruit, cloves and graphite. 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