This project was begun in 2009 by Lede Family Wines in the cool northern fringes of Anderson Valley, California and Sonoma Coast. Crafted by winemaker Ryan Hodgins, the fruit is sourced for the production of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. This wine is a tribute to owner Cliff Lede's mother, Florence Elsie Lede, (FEL).
An Alsatian Pinot Gris look-a-like with a delicate yellow hue opening with peach blossom and melon aromas. Within the core is an array of orchard pears mixed with bright star fruits. It is soave on the palate with a hint of minerality that offsets the delicate tropical fruit undertones. Producers from Alsace would admire this exemplary rendition.
From the famous “sundial” vineyard, in the village of Wehlen, where the rocky vineyards of weathered slate define the wines. Aged on the lees with native yeasts for at least 12 months, this extraordinary GG Riesling by Dr. Loosen redefines the Riesling grape.
The pale yellow color opens to a bouquet of verbena intertwined with crushed stones. It immediately captivates you with pure exotic fruits tapered with racy acidity and limestone. This sophisticated Riesling has a youthful concentration and crispness that grabs your attention for another sip. A thrilling and well-built wine for aging.
This vineyard is positioned between Dr. Loosen’s estate house and the village of Bernkastel in the Middle Mosel Valley. The heavier components of slate in the soil adds to the overall depth. The grapes are harvested early, given its Kabinett designation, so it always exhibits a lively freshness and vibrancy without getting weighty on the palate. There are Granny Smith apples mixed with candied yellow citrus and tangerine flavors. It stays bright and lively throughout showing off its elegant nature.
Atlanta native and former Indy car driver Randy Lewis and wife Debbie shared an enthusiasm for wine, founding Lewis Cellars in 1992. Randy pursued a career change after a car crash in 1991. Since the beginning they have been truly driven to create exceptional and distinctive wines. Along with their son Dennis, who joined the operation in 1999, they are a hands-on operation in every aspect from vineyard management, winemaking, sales and distribution. Their small lot production is about 9,000 cases.
Shades of pale gold reveal attractive scents of spring flowers with spicy accents. This beauty opens with lemon rind along with a hint of vanilla bean. The acidity is apparent from the get-go, which I find typical for native Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The flavor continues with ripe mango, tropical fruits and succulent limes that finish with subtle minerality. I am a big fan of the wines from Lewis Cellars. Randy and the Lewis family over the last 28 years have developed an amazing legacy of consistent quality and distinctive wines that I have enjoyed and will continue to seek out.
By Perry Miroballi
Using sustainable farming practices, Long Meadow Ranch remains a viable farmland that dates back to the 1800’s. This family-run winery was founded by Ted and Laddie Hall in 1989. Ted Hall is a successful business leader who grew up on a rural farm pursuing an engineering degree from Princeton and an MBA from Stanford. Later he would serve as the chairman of the board for the The Robert Mondavi Corporation. The estate winery rests on 650 acres of land situated in foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains in Napa Valley. There are nearly 2,000 acres spread across four diverse parcels of land. Seventy-four acres of Rutherford benchland serve as the source of their Sauvignon Blanc.
The pale straw hue opens with aromas of lemon zest, kiwi, citrus blossoms and a hint of fresh cut green grass. The acidity in this expressive Sauvignon Blanc is mouthwatering. I always sense the Rutherford dust on the finish, which is clean, crisp and elegant. This is one of my go-to whites during the summer. My wife and I are having it this evening with scallops, orzo, feta cheese and cucumbers. Delicious!
By Perry Miroballi
Rich Frank followed Michael Eisner from Paramount to become President of Disney Studios. He heard his calling in Napa after over a decade of successful achievements. Rich choose to retreat to Napa in 1990 securing 107 acres of hillside vineyards. Two years later he purchased the Old Hanns Kornell Champagne Cellars Winery and his success story began once again. Todd Graff has had a successful tenure at Frank Family since 2003 serving as winemaker and general manager.
This cool climate Carneros Chardonnay is barrel fermented and is immediately appealing. A well-rounded white with a delicate touch of hazelnut and sweet oak in the middle drizzled with marzipan cream. A richly textured Chardonnay that remains light on its feet allowing it to complement any patio or festive dining experience.