When in Sonoma Valley, more specifically Kenwood, a stop at the Ledson Winery or “The Castle” is a must for numerous reasons!
Upon entering the winery, one is taken by the majestic 16,000 square foot French Normandy “castle” (originally designed as their home) which is the winery. This building is on their 17 acre estate and opened in 1999 to the public. This serves as their public tasting area and upstairs for their private tasting events. They also have a gourmet delicatessen with artisan cheeses and meats. The grounds are beautiful and serve for both picnicking and weddings.
That stated, the key reason for a visit are their wines. Personally I have been both a member and continuing supporter of Ledson wines since 2002. Steve Ledson and Jerry Padilla have been turning out exquisite red and white varietals for years. They make some 70 different and unique small lot wines. A partial listing of red wines include: Pinot Noir, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and some of their award winning blends like Cépage and more. Similarly, their key white wines are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Awards to both their red and white wine offerings is far too extensive to begin to list, suffice it to say, they are prolific in their achieving both excellent and consistently high ratings (around mid-90’s) and gold medals in competition/events.
The wines also come from some of the 20 AVA’s around state including: Alexander Valley, Russian River, Dry Creek, Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley, Knights Valley, Lodi, Anderson Valley, Madera County, Monterey, Lake County and Contra Costa. I often refer my out of state friends who want to experience Pinot’s, Zin’s and Chardonnay from Sonoma & Napa Valley’s to first visit Ledson Winery as there they can experience all of California in one stop!
While in the past I have drank and collected their Chardonnay Reserve, Cabernet’s, Zin’s and Cépage wines, I was “blown away” on my recent visit. Jerry Padilla, Assistant Winemaker and VP of Sales, who I have known since his start at Ledson winery and now a trusted friend, hosted a few out of state guests. He introduced us to the 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. This was such a delight to taste this wine from smell to palate to the lingering finish – fruity (passion fruit & mango’s) yet with strong hints of lemon & hay. The aroma’s fill the nose with expectations which are delivered in abundance on the palate. On a personal note, having tasted some 1600+ wines a year, this one tied for my best wines tasted this year! The other one was a $225 Napa Valley Cabernet held for years. At $34 this is the deal of the decade if you enjoy a mouthful and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc.
Lastly I have to mention Steve Ledson who was there as we concluded this two hour plus session. Steve’s family history, challenges and success in so many endeavors is astonishing to say the least. Worth reading the family history to appreciate the man, his vision and family on their website.
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