(This picture by Ledson Winery)
The story begins in England in 1896 and is detailed out on the website https://ledson.com/discover-ledson/history/ . It is a tale of hard work, family ties and a desire to do more for the community. Steve Ledson’s history is both unique and common—unique with background and successful venture and common with family ties. His demeanor and casual manner bespeaks volumes. A couple of years ago, I had a friend come down from Oregon and had Assistant Winemaker Jerry Padilla conduct the private tasting. On the way out, Steve walked in with jeans and tee shirt having worked some aspect of the vineyard only to greet us, genuinely happy that our tasting went well.
The Castle is the official tasting room of Ledson and the architecture and construction alone are worth the visit! Ledson Winery is offers the largest premium wine portfolio of any family owned winery in the United States. Today their offering numbers more than 70 wines annually!
My dealings with Ledson Winery go back almost twenty years as a club member and writer. Steve Ledson and Jerry Padilla are a great team offering customers and visitors a unique perspective into the wine business – and yes they make GREAT wines!
At a recent visit, summer of 2018, I was once again transformed into a “wine enchantment” of the Castle, hosted by Jerry Padilla. Jerry knew my palate / wine desires, so he prepared an assortment of wines for the afternoon along with a charcuterie plate. During the process, we discussed many aspects of the winery, wine education and tastes of wines. Jerry was extremely flexible and diverted some choices to new and interesting wines. All the wines tasted and enjoyed where fit for royalty and many earned a spot in the cellar.
I am mentioning two wines in this article which is difficult with so many excellent choices. The first is the current 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. In my Yearly Picks of the Exceptional Wines of 2016 (only 5 named), I listed Ledson’s 2015 Sauvignon Blanc at $34. Most of the others were listed at $175. It was no mistake and again this vintage reconfirmed their rank at the end of 2018 once again.
For the red’s, my choice was not as simple with so many superb wines to select. The top contenders were: 2013 Alexander Valley “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon (Gold Medal 2017 Sunset International Wine Competition); 2013 Napa Valley “Stagecoach” Cabernet Sauvignon; 2014 Alexander Valley Reserve “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon; 2015 Sonoma Valley “Estate” Barbera; Howell Mountain “Old Vine” Zinfandel and the 2014 Sonoma Valley “Estate” Cepage (Bordeaux blend). The winner and our dinner wine that evening was the 2013 Napa Valley “Stagecoach Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winemakers’ notes best sum up this wine as a “powerful wine that boasts gorgeous deep purple hues and aromatics of blackberry, blackcurrant, and cherry. Boysenberry, blackberry, and amazingly rich chocolate blend on the palate with intensity, opulence, and voluptuous textures. Bold tannins intertwine with wild berries and an intriguing note of black olive on an irresistible finish”. Easy to see why this was chosen to accompany our evening meal.
Over the years I have recommended to friends and visitors going to Sonoma to make a stop at Ledson Winery. Obviously from their current wine list, they do offer a bit of everything for the casual wine taster to the wine aficionados’, be it Millennials to Baby Boomers, you will find the wine that envelops your palate and is sized to your pocketbook.