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. 

Wine Maker

Christopher Tynan

Country

USA

Region

California


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Wines from this Winery


2021 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Produced mainly from old vineyards in Rutherford and Calistoga, Cliff Lede’s Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic delight, lively and fresh. Yet it also has more roundness and heft on the palate than you’d expect from a California Sauvignon Blanc. This is because the winery approaches the variety more like the Bordelais, blending in Semillon (8%) and fermenting largely in neutral French oak instead of stainless steel. According to winemaker Christ Tynan, Semillon adds fatness and richness to the otherwise laser-sharp acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and opens up the aromas to include richer notes of creme brûlée and lemon curd. This is an elegant and refreshing wine with citrus, green apple, spring flowers and orange blossoms coming together in a mouthful that is rich and fleshy but structured with minerality and fresh acidity.

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¥6,930 (incl. tax)
2019 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (1.5L)

If you are able to dine with a larger party this winter, try adding some festive excitement to the meal with this fine magnum of Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc. A complex and delicious wine that offers bright fruit, a rich texture and expansive body, it’s the product of a diverse set of vineyards in Rutherford, Calistoga, the Chiles Valley and Southwestern Napa. Many of these vineyards feature old vines, heritage varieties such as Sauvignon Vert, a.k.a. Muscadelle, and a variety of Sauvignon Blanc clones - including the aromatic Musqué clone. Another key factor is the significant portion of Semillon in the blend, which adds weight to the sharp acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and opens up the aromas to include richer notes of creme brûlée and lemon curd. A splendid wine with citrus, green apple, spring flowers and orange blossoms coming together in a mouthful that is rich and fleshy but structured with minerality and fresh acidity.

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¥13,420 (incl. tax)
2018 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 looking down. The combination of ancient riverbed and rocky, volcanic soils gives the wine awesome depth, complexity, as well as a Graves-like minerality that’s characteristic of the Stags Leap District. The Wine Enthusiast called it “a focused and youthfully grippy wine, showing a fervor of succulent red- and black-currant and licorice. Thick, rich, and intensely structured, it possesses a mineral-like earthiness of crushed rock and enduring structure.” A wine so rich as this would pair well with steak au poivre, ragout of beef or lamb, or braised duck breast.

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¥15,840 (incl. tax)
2018 Cliff Lede Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon