Jeb Dunnuck - Feb 2024

Link: Jeb Dunnuck Ledge Review

The young Mark Adams, who trained under none other than Justin Smith, continues to produce brilliant, singular wines from both his estate fruit and some purchased fruit, which comes from some of the crème de la crème sites in the appellation.  The estate vineyard is almost entirely own-rooted and is propagated using a massale selection from the vineyard, which was largely planted from Syrah cloned from the Bone Rock parcel in James Berry.  This is a cooler, sandy site located in the Willow Creek District and the wines from here always have some old-world character, yet still speak clearly of Paso Robles. Readers looking for the next cult mailing list are advised to get on this estate's bandwagon. 

2021 Ledge Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 97-100pts                                                                                                                    Another wine that's going to flirt with perfection, the 2021 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard comes all from Block 11 and is 100% Estrella Clone Syrah. It reveals a deep purple hue as well as a quintessential nose of bloody black and blue fruits, white and black pepper, iron, and assorted gamey, meaty nuances. Concentrated, medium to full-bodied, and seamless, it's an incredible wine in every sense. The only downside is it’s made in tiny quantities! 

2021 Ledge Grenache Estate 94-96pts                                                                                                                                  The 2021 Grenache from Mark Adams showed beautifully, with a pure, layered, medium to full- bodied style as well as a darker slant in its blackberry, peppery, violet, and spring flower- driven aromas and flavors. It shows the incredibly pure, aromatic character of the vintage beautifully and reminds me of a top Châteauneuf du Pape from sandy soils. The blend is 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 11% Cinsault, and the rest Roussanne, which was 40% destemmed and will spend 20 months in new and used oak. 

2021 Ledge Syrah Estate 95-97+                                                                                                                                                I loved the 2021 Estate Syrah Blend, which is incredibly perfumed and layered, with a kirsch and blackberry-driven fruit profile as well as notes of spring flowers, ground pepper, and incense. Medium to full-bodied, ultra-pure, and utterly seamless on the palate, this incredible Syrah will drink nicely for 10-15 years. As usual, this has a certain Côte Rôtie-like elegance and floral character that I adore. The blend is 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 7% Cinsault, and the rest Roussanne, all from the estate Adams Ranch Vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles, with the élevage being 20 months in new and used barrels. 

2021 Ledge James Berry Vineyard 97-99 pts                                                                                                                      Awesome notes of kirsch liqueur, ground pepper, spring flowers, and graphite all define the aromatics of the 2021 James Berry Vineyard, an incredibly complex, layered, sensationally textured wine with a rare, multi-dimensional, remarkably compelling style. Already hard to resist, this is pure Paso Robles magic that readers should do their best to get ahold of. The blend is 75% Grenache, 22% Syrah, and 3% Roussanne that was fermented with plenty of stems and will spend 20 months in new French oak. 

2018 James Berry Vineyard - 95-97 points

The 2018 James Berry Vineyard is certainly in the same league as the 2017 (and 2016) and offers a stunning array of dark berry fruits, ground herbs, exotic flowers, and assorted background meatiness.  With Medium to full-bodiedrichness, a distinct sappiness, beautiful tannins, and a monster finish, this singular beauty is going to need 3-4 years of bottle age, but it's an incredible wine in the making.

2018 Syrah Adams Ranch - 93-95 points

From a cooler, sandy site not far from Saxum's James Berry Vineyard, the 2018 Syrah Adams Ranch is another perfumed, finesse-driven beauty that has more in common with a Côte Rôtie from Jamet than your normal Paso Robles Syrah.  Pretty raspberry fruits, wildflowers, olive, and subtle peppery notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied, elegant red that shines for its complex, nuanced style more than overt power.

2018 Bien Nacido Syrah - 95-97+ points

A new cuvée from a Grand Cru site in the Santa Maria Valley, the 2018 Syrah Bien Nacido offers classic salty, marine-like nuances as well as tons of meaty black fruits, olive, peppered game, and violet aromas and flavors.  Full-bodied, seamless, and brilliantly put together, it's another magical 2018 in the making.

2017 Adams Ranch Vineyard - 94+ points

From the estate property (not far from James Berry and in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles) and a blend of 51% Syrah, 46% Grenache, 2% Roussanne, and 1% Mourvèdre, brought up mostly in neutral oak, the 2017 Adams Ranch Vineyard has a singular bouquet of black cherries, mulberries, ground pepper, sappy underbrush, and hints of bacon fat, among other things.  Incredibly complex and vibrant aromatically, it's medium to full-bodied, has sappy tannins, notable balance, and a great finish.  It's a cool-climate, sappy red that needs 3-5 years of bottle age and is going to keep for over a decade.  Those looking for a classic decadent Paso Robles Syrah needs to look elsewhere, but this beauty is the real deal.  

2017 James Berry Vineyard - 95+ points

The 2017 James Berry Vineyard is a complex, elegant blend of 35% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre, and a whopping 11% Roussanne that was brought up in a new 500-liter barrel, and a used 300-liter barrel. Sexy notes of candied cherries, plums, cracked pepper, and bouquet garni all flow into a medium to full-bodied blend that has a silky, seamless texture, polished tannins, and a beautiful sense of purity and complexity paired with plenty of richness and depth.

2017 MCA Rosé James Berry Vineyard - 90 points

Made mostly from Counoise, Mark has turned out a rocking rosé with his 2017 MCA Rosé James Berry Vineyard.  Plenty of citrus, orange rind, and a touch of minerality all emerge from this fresh, yet textured rosé that ticks all the right boxes. Made in a Provençal style, it's going to be versatile on the dinner table. 

2016 James Berry Vineyard - 97 points

Slightly deeper colored, the 2016 James Berry Vineyard checks in as 64% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 11% Mourvèdre, and 4% Roussanne that was 75% destemmed and spent 19 months in a new Atelier 350-liter barrel, and neutral a 300-liter barrel.  Unfortunately, there's not much to go around, but this is a magical wine that offers a fabulous perfume of spring flowers, black raspberries, ground pepper, and crushed rocks.  Deep, layered, multi-dimensional, and with awesome purity of fruit, it's one of the finest wines yet from this estate and readers should jump at the chance to latch onto a bottle or two. 

2016 MCA Cuvée - 93 points

The value play from this estate is the 2016 MCA Cuvée, which is made from a kitchen sink blend of 30% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Syrah, and 15% each of Syrah, Tannat, and Cinsault. It's vivid ruby/purple color is followed by a ripe, lush, sexy wine that has loads of black and blue fruits, plenty of spice, and flower incense aromas, medium to full-bodied, terrific purity, and a great finish.  It's a smoking good wine to enjoy over the coming 5-6 years, if not longer.  

2016 Rolph Family Vineyard - 94 points

The 2016 Rolph Family Vineyard checks in as 100% Grenache that spent 20 months in a mix of new and used French oak barrels. It. offers up a pretty bouquet of kirsch and strawberry fruits intermixed with plenty of white pepper, sappy herbs, spring flowers, and incense. It's another ethereal, elegant, beautifully pure red from Mark Adams that has balance, class, complexity, and length. 

2016 Syrah Adams Ranch Vineyard - 95 points

The 2016 Adams Ranch Vineyard reminded me of a top Côte Rôtie with its awesome bouquet of raspberries, spring flowers, pepper, green olives, and bacon fat. A blend of 86% Syrah, 11% Grenache, and 3% Roussanne (fermented with plenty of stems) that was brought up in neutral 400-liter barrels, this beauty is incredibly perfumed, complex, medium to full-bodied, and downright seamless.  It's a brilliant wine from the young yet talented Mark Adams!

2016 Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyard - 91 points

Moving to the reds, the 2016 Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyard is 100% varietal and spent 20 months in neutral barrels.  It offers classy notes of cranberries, blackberries, white pepper, and plenty of leafy herbs in it's pretty, elegant, sappy style that's going to age for upward of a decade. 

Wine Advocate - Feb 2020 - Robert Parker

Link: Wine Advocate Ledge Review

2017 James Berry Vineyard - 93 points

The 2017 James Berry Vineyard is a blend of 33% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre, and 11% Roussanne.  Medium to deep ruby in the glass, it has pretty scents of raspberry tart, strawberry preserves, charcuterie, pepper, and salami with notes of spiced blackberries, cranberry jelly, and an earthy undercurrent.  Medium to full-bodied, it's silky and explodes with savory flavor layers, firmly grainy and very fresh, finishing long and perfumed.

2017 Adam's Ranch Vineyard - 92 points

The 2017 Adams Ranch is a blend of 52% Syrah, 48% Grenache, 2% Roussanne, and 1% Mourvèdre, grown in sandy soil and made with 50% whole cluster.  Pale to medium ruby, it gives up peppered charcuterie, sour cherries, scorched earth, burnt orange peel. potpourri, dried leaves, bark and Angostura bitters aromas with loads of ripe red berry fruit at the core.  Medium to full-bodied and slowly unfurling in the mouth to high toned notions, it has a firm, chalky frame and good freshness on the finish. 

2016 Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyard - 92 points

The 2016 Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyard, made with 50% whole cluster, has a pale to medium ruby color and aromas of baked peaches, Italian plum, red cherry preserves, prosciutto, dust, tree bark, and amaro with touches of dried flowers. Light to medium-bodied, it's delicate and pretty with spice and bitters accents and a long, lifted finish. 

2016 MCA Cuvée - 93 points

The 2016 MCA Cuvée Paso is made up of 30% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Syrah, 15% Syrah, 15% Tannat, and 15% Cinsault. Medium to deep ruby, it has a spicy nose with aromas of pepper, leather, sour cherries, cranberries, scorched earth, and Agnostra Bitters plus notes of powdered sugar and charcuterie. Light to medium-bodied, the palate is bitters-tinged and lifted, with a grainy frame and long, perfumed finish. 


Vinous - Feb 2020 - Josh Reynolds

Link: Vinous Ledge Reviews

Ciera and Mark Adams’ wines are delivering, by my estimation, some of the best bang-for-the-buck wines in Paso Robles. They draw fruit from some of the top vineyards in the region as well as from their own, 40-acre estate, which sits at 1,230 feet in the Willow Creek District and which they have been steadily planting since 2005. The style here straddles richness and energy, even in warm vintage, and the wines are deceptively forward, especially in 2017, which Mark said is ”a hallmark of the vintage,” while adding that “even if they’re less rich than the 2016s, they are still plenty big.” Lots of whole clusters are used here, which is no doubt the reason that the Ledge wines are typically highly and exotically perfumed, with distinct spice and floral character. New oak is always used judiciously, if at all, and I have never noticed it expressed in the slightest manner; on the contrary, even at their ripest these are always among the most elegant and unadorned wines of region, vintage in and vintage out.

2016 Ledge Grenache Rolph Family Vineyard - 94 points
Translucent ruby-red. Expressive, mineral-accented raspberry and cherry preserve aromas are complemented by suggestions of incense, exotic spices and pungent flowers. Seamless and impressively concentrated, offering intense red fruit liqueur, spice cake and floral pastille flavors sharpened by a jolt of smoky minerals. Rich yet energetic in style, finishing with superb clarity, repeating spiciness and fine-grained tannins that sneak in late. This wine's seductive spiciness had me guessing that some whole clusters were in the mix, but that's not the case – all of the fruit was destemmed.

2016 Ledge Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyard - 94 Points
Brilliant magenta. Highly perfumed, spice- and mineral-accented aromas of black raspberry, boysenberry and licorice carry a suave floral overtone. Stains the palate with intense, mineral-tinged red and blue fruit and spicecake flavors that deftly blend power and finesse. Finishes sweet, smoky and extremely long, with resonating florality and a lingering blueberry note. Made with 50% whole clusters and raised in neutral French and Hungarian oak barrels.

2017 Ledge Adams Ranch Vineyard - 95 Points
Deep brilliant magenta. Powerful aromas of ripe red and dark berries, exotic spices, potpourri and incense pick up a smoky mineral element as the wine stretches out. Juicy and seamless in the mouth, offering alluringly sweet raspberry, cola, spicecake and candied lavender flavors that show fine delineation and back-end thrust. The floral and spice notes build emphatically on a strikingly long, precise finish shaped by smooth, slowly emerging tannins.

2017 Ledge James Berry Vineyard - 95 Points
Brilliant violet. Potent, sharply focused red and blue fruit preserve, exotic spice and floral oil scents pick up a bright mineral overtone as the wine opens up. Alluringly sweet and energetic on the palate, offering intense, sharply defined raspberry, boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that slowly unfurl and become sweeter on the back half. Delivers an uncanny blend of richness and delicacy and finishes extremely long and spicy, with resonating blue fruit character and velvety tannins that come on steadily.

2016 Ledge MCA Cuvée - 93 Points
Glistening ruby. Expansive aromas of ripe red and blue fruits, potpourri and candied licorice are complemented by building mineral and spice nuances. Juicy, expansive black raspberry, bitter cherry and boysenberry flavors become sweeter and put on weight with aeration. Youthful tannins lend subtle grip to an impressively long, spice-laced finish that echoes the floral and blue fruit notes.


Crush Lounge Interview 

Click here to listen to Mark Adams and Tim Bluhm chat on The Krush 92.5