Winery Spotlight: Cliff Lede Vineyards
Cliff Lede is one of those rare wineries that appeals to everyone from beginner to connoisseur and they do it with a fun, laid back rock n roll vibe that is rather unique for the area. A visit to Cliff Lede is always an inviting, compelling, and comfortable stop in the heart of Napa Valley with excellent wine, people and service.
Here’s why you should visit. First of all, no appointment is necessary unless you’re arriving in a large group. Otherwise, you just walk right in, which allows you to fit this in between some other wine visit whenever time allows.
They have a pre-set tasting flight that includes reds and whites, and guides you all the way up to their signature Napa Cabernet. More on the wines in a minute.
Outside is a gorgeous patio with comfortable seating, and a beautiful view of the vines behind the tasting room. Behind the large heart shaped metal art piece is a short path that leads right out the vines, perfect for getting photos up close to the vines. Off in the distance on the west side of the property, you’ll see a huge house on top of the mountain. That’s where Cliff lives.
When I say Cliff Lede has a rock n roll vibe, it becomes apparent right away. From the décor and shirts that mimic the look of Marshall amplifiers and the AC/DC logo to the names of the vineyards (each one is named after a famous classic rock song), to the music overhead, you know that this is a fun group of people to hang with. Far different than the stuffiness you might find elsewhere nearby.
Cliff Lede’s tasting menu will feature some whites from their Fel label, along with some red blends, but the real heart of the story of their wine are their Cabernets. Located at the edge of Stags Leap and Oakville, this is Cab country. Their estate Cabs are beautiful, and signature Stags Leap in style. They also offer a Rock Blocks series (these “go to 11”) that is comprised of the two best vineyards for their year, and named appropriately. For 2013, the wine is called “Stardust Heaven.” In the past, wines have been named “Lonely Wizard,” and “Landslide Fire.”
On the higher higher end, they offer special bottlings from Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, and To Kalon along with their most prestigious wine, the Cliff Lede Poetry.
There’s no food, just wine and everyone stands inside around a small bar or congregates on the patio. Take a sample and walk around the vines, or hang out back. It’ a beautiful property with great wine, and is as inviting as can possibly be, especially if you have a passion for classic rock.
Have you visited Cliff Lede, or enjoyed any of their wines? Tell us about it in the comments below.