Winery: Cliff Lede Vineyards
Bottling: 2005 Claret
Sub-Region: Napa Valley
Estimated Retail Price: $30 – $35
Purchase Details: As much as I hate to recall this, we have this wine because it was a left over bottle from our now-defunct retail shop. We sold it for $29.95 — a screaming deal!
Tasting Notes: On the nose, cassis, cream and Berol Mirado #2 pencil lead shavings that were really pronounced as the wine really opened up.
In the mouth, even more pencil lead shavings and graphite galore. Flavors of dried currants, plum, smoke, ripe black cherries, blackberries, mint and rosemary were very pronounced. Very rich pure flavors. This was a wine that tasted so much more expensive than the price.
Great structure, dusty tannins and a rich finish complete the wine. This is a wine that has a lot of fruit, a lot of stuffing and that oak spiced richness that appeals to a broad audience.
Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: You’re going to need food with some flavor, because this wine will crush anything that doesn’t have any backbone of flavor. We had this with Chinese food and it really sang with the dishes that had hoisin sauce in it.
Winery & Other Background Information: The Cliff Lede Winery is only a few vintages in the game and already they have been making a big splash in the marketplace.
I remember tasting this wine and their Stag’s Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon ($45 at the time) at the local distributor’s trade show, and thinking to myself, “We gotta bring these wines in, what solid wines at the price!” Once I brought them in and soon after customers tasted them, they sold like hotcakes.
I haven’t been to the winery yet, but I hear a lot of great things about the tasting room and winery tour experience. We’ll be moving to the bay area in a couple of days, so you can be sure that Cliff Lede Vineyards will be at the top of our list of must-visit wineries in Napa.