My wife and I visited this winery with Tyee and his wife on Tuesday. The winery is located in a historic 1886 stone winery which has been beautifully restored. It is located at about 1500 feet on Howell Mountain. We were met at the winery by co owner, Anne Stotesbery. She and her husband purchased the Lone Canyon vineyard in 1997 and later their Howell Mountain vineyards and the former Brun & Chaix Winery in 2000. They have installed one of the few 100% gravity flow winemaking systems in Napa. The winemaker is Karen Culler. I would highly recommend a visit to this winery. Here are my notes:
2005 Ladera Syrah Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley 150 cases are made of this wine. This is the 2nd vintage Ladera has made it. The fruit is sourced from their Lone Canyon Vineyard on the West side of Napa Valley with an elevation of 1100 feet. It retails for about $40. Dark purple color. This wine was filled with currant, wild game, spice and red fruit notes. Chewy texture and very well put together. 90-91 points.
2005 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot. A very good value at $39. 50% of the fruit is sourced from the estates Howell Mountain vineyard on the East side of Napa Valley and the other 50% comes from their Lone Canyon vineyard on the West side. Deep purple color. Very pretty floral nose. This had an elegant profile despite full tannins. Notes of smoky wild berries and crushed grape skins. Medium to full bodied. 92 points.
2004 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain 2500 cases of this are made. It sells for $70. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the most mineral of the wines poured. Medium bodied with black fruit and a silky texture. Softer and more feminine than the Lone Canyon Cab. Moderate tannins. This was not showing as much at the present time. 90+ points.
2004 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Canyon Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley My favorite wine tasted at the winery. 2000 cases were made. It sells for $65. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Lone Canyon vineyard is located on the West side of Napa Valley near Mt. Veeder. This had the fullest body of the 4 wines poured. It had firm tannins and will need time in the bottle. More aromatic with a dusty fruit filled nose. This was a lush wine which exhibited a very interesting coolness. The complex character of this wine was exhibited in its chalky mineralness and berry notes. Medium to full bodied. 93+ points.
Thanks for the notes. I visited there last August and had very similar impressions of those wines from the previous vintage. I agree that the NV bottling is a great value which I can get from $32-35 here. Also had the 01 Lone Canyon a month ago and gave it 93+ as well. And agree that it was one of the prettiest wineries I visted and just happens to be next door to Neal.
Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends. - Tom Waits
Can't say I would argue with VM's notes...other than I felt the 2004 Howell Mtn Cab had more long-term potential than the 2004 Lone Canyon. But then again...I was the only one (of the four) who thought so...what do I know.
If one has only time for a handful of winery visits when in Napa...Ladera would be a must. Extremely interesting/beautiful facility/property, an engaging and informative personal tour, and good wines.
These people have invested/spent some serious money here...I guess it may prove the point...if you want to make a small fortune in the wine business, you need to start with a large fortune.
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I have recently tasted all wines as well. I would agree that the Lone Canyon is the best of the bunch. I actually did not care much for the Napa Valley, which is a shame, because it has always been a great wine for the $ in the past. However, this is the first year that they are using Petit Verdot in the blend and not Merlot. This is because they are going to be releasing their first all Merlot this year. To me, this made a big difference in the final product. I will be stocking up on the '04 NV, because at $35 or less, it is a great QPR.
2004 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Canyon Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/13/2012) Great Wine! I got a bit of a laugh when I opened the bottle and saw all of the sediment on the neck/cork (just like everyone's notes). Decanted 1hr: aromas of dark fruit, cinnamon spice, and bit of leather. Very well balanced, outstanding tannins & acidity. Went back to the wine after 3hr in decanter. What a change! Started to notice floral and dark chocolate notes. I don't see this wine fading anytime soon. Good price for a Napa Cab. (93 pts.)