The Rack House West Winery

Pierre Bourée Fils

Clos de la Justice Gevrey-Chambertin Pinot Noir 2014

Old-school red Burgundy by Pierre Bourée et fils, a small négociant house in Gevrey-Chambertin. This wine comes from one of the family’s four own vineyards, the Clos de la Justice, a 2-hectare walled plot located on the eastern side of the Route Nationale 74 (generally considered “the wrong side” of the road. Virtually all of Burgundy’s notable vineyard sites are west of the RN 74). Earthy, rustic. Aromas of red cherries, pepper, forest floor. Fresh, not particularly complex, easy to drink. High acidity — 13 days ago

Bob and Mike liked this

School House

Mezcolanza Zinfandel Blend 2012

Quite possibly one of the most singular expressions of Zinfandel I have ever tasted and unquestionably going to be misunderstood by most who drink it. This is not a Zinfandel drinker’s Zinfandel. It’s too acidic; too mineral driven; too light on its feet. And yet, I was absolutely charmed by it! Particularly when I paired it with pomegranate marinated rack of lamb. At 7 years old, it’s just now entering its drinking window. I would expect this to be enjoyable for at least another 7 years and perhaps longer. — a year ago

Ira, Hermes and 1 other liked this

Indaba Wines

Mosaic Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

This has become the House red. Quite pleasant with rack of lamb. — a year ago

Cliff Lede Vineyards

Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

David T
9.5

On the nose; very ruby, floral plum fruits of; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, Thompson raisins, fresh dates and prunes. Black licorice, creamy dark fruit cola, caramel, milk & dark chocolate, soft beautiful dark spice, touch of eucalyptus, fresh herbs, limestone, soft presence dry crushed rocks, a whiff of pepper, fresh lavender, violets and dark withering floral bouquet.

The body is full and lush. Fine meaty, tarry, tannins. Very ruby, floral plum fruits of; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, Thompson raisins, fresh dates and prunes. Black licorice, creamy dark fruit cola, caramel, milk & dark chocolate, soft beautiful dark spice, touch of eucalyptus, fresh herbs, limestone, soft presence dry crushed rocks, suede leather, dry clay, dry top soil, dry underbrush, a whiff of pepper, fresh lavender, violets and dark withering floral bouquet. The acidity is very nice. There is good structure, tension, length and balance that needs 10 years plus to flush out. The finish is good, well balanced with fine powdery sticky tannins.

Photos of, Cliff Lede tasting facility, wire woven sculptures that decorate the grounds, Owner David Lede and the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard.

Producer history and notes...Cliff Lede Vineyards (pronounced LayDee) was founded in 2002 on what used to be S. Anderson Vineyard, a winery that was founded in 1971 by Stanley and Carol Anderson primarily known for their sparkling wines.

Cliff Lede is from Leduc, Alberta a small town just south of Edmonton. The reason you see a Canadian flag in front of the parking next to the US Flag. David and Cliff helped run their father’s construction company he founded in 1947, Leduc Construction. Later the company was renamed to Ledcor Construction in 1982. They ultimately built the business into one of the world’s largest construction companies. Through Cliff, the company established business in the Napa Valley focusing on wineries, restaurants, premium resorts and private residences. Some of their more notable works include; Morimoto Restaurant, Davis Estate Winery, Lokoya Winery, Marciano Estate and the Riverfront Residences in downtown Napa.

After several decades at Ledcor, Cliff decided to pursue his passion for wine. His first introduction to wine was helping his mother make wine at home. Later he began collecting wines from Bordeaux, and even considered purchasing property there. However, he fell in love with Napa after business took him to Northern California.

Cliff Lede owns 60 acres of vineyards in the Stags Leap District. This includes the Twin Peaks Vineyard surrounding the winery and tasting room. The Poetry Vineyard was acquired a year after Cliff established Cliff Lede Vineyards. It is planted on steep hillsides down to the Silverado Trail. It’s planted with red Bordeaux varietals, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. The soils there are extremely rocky. Despite being so close to the Poetry Vineyard, the soils in the Twin Peaks Vineyard are dramatically different. They are gravelly loam.

From a viticulture aspect, this diversity of terroir is a good representation of what the Stags Leap District has to offer, ranging from its upper most reaches of 400 feet to the valley floor. Even among their two Stags Leap properties, there are micro-climates. The west facing vineyard hillsides become quite warm during the day in the summer but cool off significantly in the evenings. This diurnal temperature swing is important for growing premium grapes including maintaining acidity.

The winery also owns a 20 acre vineyard in Calistoga at the base of Diamond Mountain planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a small block of Sauvignon Blanc.

Further to the north in Mendocino County is their Savoy Vineyard, which is a 42 acre site in Anderson Valley. It is planted mainly to Pinot Noir along with Chardonnay. It provides fruit for their FEL Wines (a name that Cliff chose to pay homage to his mother, using the first three initials of her full name Florence Elsie Lede.

Cliff’s love for all things “Rock and Roll”, he named all their blocks in their Stags Leap District Vineyards after famous rock and roll songs or albums such as “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Walk on the Wildside”, “Light my Fire” and “American Girl. ”Collectively these are referred to as the “Rock Blocks.”

David Abreu quickly realized the exceptional terroir of the Poetry Vineyard as did Cliff when they initially tried some of the S. Anderson wines from this site. Abreu oversaw its replanting and clonal material sourced from a number of premiere Napa vineyards. While Abreu was the original vineyard architect, he is no longer involved in the management of the their vineyards. They are now controlled by their in-house vineyard team.

The winery, tasting room and the nearby luxury Poetry Inn all opened around 2005. Architect Howard Gillam was hired to design the winery. Cliff’s background in construction and architectural preferences certainly influenced its design. The tasting room has a more contemporary feel rather then some of his more rustic looking designs. It features beautiful views of the Napa Valley. Inspired by the shape of tanks during a visit to Château Latour in Bordeaux, Cliff commissioned Missouri based Paul Mueller Company to create special truncated tanks for fermentation to help submerse more of the cap. Each tank corresponds to a specific vineyard block. During harvest, a specially designed crane gently moves and lowers a hopper full of whole berries into each tank.

Sorting is a big part of their attention to detail before fermentation. After the grapes come into the winery, they are sorted by hand, then run through an optical sorter and then finally put through an additional final hand sorting. Nearby is a 20,000 square foot cave that connects directly to the winery. World famous Michel Rolland was brought on in the early years as a consultant. Philipe Melka also made Cliff Lede wines for several years and today Christopher Tynan is the Winemaker. He was formerly Assistant Winemaker at Colgin.

Total annual production is between 18,000 and 20,000 cases depending on what Mother Nature gives them. The majority of this is comprised of their Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and their Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon.
— 2 years ago

Paul, Dawn and 28 others liked this
Peggy Hadley

Peggy Hadley

@Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher Bum either that or he has a fruit stand.
Ron R

Ron R Influencer Badge Premium Badge

A very interesting read @David T. Thanks for sharing.
David T

David T Influencer Badge

@Ron R Thank you! Cheers 🍷

Cullen Wines

Diana Madeline Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005

Cab sauv at Kenlee’s house with jens and Palm. Ate with Lagnaa. Spicy bold mid tannins mid acidity on the dry side; plum/prune/oak/chocolate — 2 months ago

Forest Hill Vineyard

Estate Shiraz 2017

Last nights dinner at the Milwaukee Steak House. 24 ounce prime rib ( yes its huge) with all the fixings.

Menu wine is this Aussie shiraz, light ruby in color, full bodied, fruity scent, taste of strawberry, cherry, vanilla, & damp forest floor.

Mild tannins, nice lingering finish. I rate both the dinner and wine as outstanding.
— a year ago

Vanessa, Josh and 4 others liked this
P A

P A

@Dennis P. cheers 🍷
Dawn E.

Dawn E.

@Dennis P. nice!! Cheers! 🍷
Trixie

Trixie

A delightful feast! 🍷

Henriot

Millésime Brut Champagne Blend 2006

Shay A
9.2

@Benjamin Keator had his hosting at the CC tonight and it was absolutely incredible. What a night of gorgeous wines! All wines are guessed blind.

My guess here was ‘04-06 French champagne. I couldn’t guess a house, but I was able to rule out what it wasn’t (PH, Dom, Krug). This wasn’t reductive enough to be west coast. Balanced sweetness and yeastiness well.
— 2 years ago

Benjamin KeatorWeston EidsonDavid Schoonover
with Benjamin, Weston and 1 other
Severn, David and 23 others liked this

Voyager Estate

Reserve Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Clear, deep garnet colour. Clean, pronounced blackcurrant and chocolate aromas. Dry with high acidity and tannins that are beautifully balanced and smooth. Full bodied with a long finish. Juicy blackcurrant, chocolate and mocha with a lovely vanilla flavour. An outstanding wine and a marvellous accompaniment to rack of lamb. — 8 months ago

Michele Walker
with Michele

Woodlands

Matthew Woodlands Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

At the Woodlands Dinner at Walters Steak House in Brisbane last Wednesday hosted by one of the family owners, Andrew Watson. The premium cuvée each year is named after Family members or friends. 2014 was “Matthew “. Drinking a 5 year old Cabernet of this quality from Magnum is akin to infanticide but one can see the undoubted potential there. Cellar for up to 20 years. Definitely one of the icon Cabs of Margaret River. A lovely blend of Cassis and Herbaceous notes. Medium to full bodied with a finish that goes on forever. Outstanding. — a year ago

Severn, Paul and 7 others liked this

Tsarine

Brut Champagne Rosé Blend

On occasion I (and my wife by extension) get invited by a restaurant to enjoy an evening of wining & dining on the house in exchange for some Instagram publicity. I, of course, gladly accept their hospitality, not only because I love food & wine but also because I relish the opportunity to share (hopefully) positive experiences had at local restaurants. Tonight’s experience was at Lucio’s BYOB, which I’ve been to numerous times. However, tonight I was invited to return for dinner and explore a multitude of new menu items at the behest of their Marketing Director, Irina, who has had the pleasure of serving at various acclaimed restaurants in France and Italy (including none other than Osteria Francescana), as well as numerous local hot-shot restaurants here in Houston. Since I would be the only one drinking over dinner, I chose to bring a Champagne split of a selection I had never had before by a producer I had never experienced. Tsarine’s Brut Rosé offered the perfect pairing for all manner of dishes from cured gravlox, to crab cake, to Australian lamb rack, to assorted desserts and more. Ripe strawberries, peaches, and delicate flowers, I enjoyed my first exposure to this producer and wouldn’t mind trying some of their other offerings. — 2 years ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Shay and 16 others liked this
Ryan Vento

Ryan Vento Premium Badge

Thanks @Shay A , I appreciate it. Congrats to you two as well.
Stuart Scheff

Stuart Scheff

Great review