Cliff Lede's 100-point Cabernet Sauvignon: Poetry
Cliff Lede Vineyards crafts perfect-scoring wine.
Left: Bob McClenahan; Right: Courtesy of Cliff Lede Vineyards
When he was a child, Cliff Lede often watched his mother make wine at home. Today, his Napa Valley winery makes wines that receive more than 90 points from The Wine Advocate, including his flagship 100-point Cabernet Sauvignon, Poetry.
“Our philosophy is that wine is made in the vineyard and that our role as vintners is to delicately craft the wine with the purest expression of fruit from the vineyard,” says Remi Cohen, the vice president and general manager of Lede Family Wines.
Cliff Lede Vineyards took root in 2002 when Lede, a Bordeaux wine collector involved with his family’s construction company, bought 60 acres in Napa Valley’s renowned Stags Leap District. He decided to replant almost the entire estate, and now a full-time crew works year-round to hand-farm the Napa Green-certified vineyard. The coveted Poetry vineyard is in the northeast corner of Stags Leap District, on a west-facing rocky hillside that radiates warmth, creating daytime temperatures that are a little higher than those of the surrounding areas.
During harvest, the berries are handpicked at night, when cooler temperatures prevail. Laborers use 25-pound bins to protect the fruit and minimize crushing. The clusters are then manually sorted before a high-tech optical sorting machine scans each grape for shape and color, rejecting less-than-perfect berries. After the completion of a final hand-sort, a unique crane system delivers the best grapes to pear-shaped tanks for fermentation.
“This distinctive shape provides for more submersion of the cap of grape skins that forms during fermentation. It also creates a place where the wine can naturally mix for better extraction of color, tannin, and flavors,” says Cohen.
Library vintages of Poetry are occasionally poured by appointment in the winery’s Backstage Reserve Tasting Lounge. There, you can enjoy other limited-production wines while perusing art exhibitions, leaving the business of crafting perfect-scoring wine to the Lede team—they do it so well.
1473 Yountville Cross Rd., Yountville, (707) 944-8642, cliffledevineyards.com.