I hope most of you haven't gotten it, this nasty cold that's going around. I came down with it hard yesterday and my head feels like it's going to explode. What's worse, my kid got a hover craft for Christmas and the rumble it makes as she tears around the house is not helping the aching in my head. It's wonderful really, this motorized scooter thing that her Grandparents got for her, but she does everything but bathe on the damn thing. I'm not certain that she doesn't bring it into the bathroom with her. I'm sitting here, trying to write about our big James Berry Vineyard Rosé bottling tomorrow, and it sounds like a damn earthquake is going to hit. Nope, it's Elizabeth headed to the pantry for a snack. Once her treat is chosen, she will then swivel on a dime to the microwave to warm up said treat. Once the treat is toasty, she realizes she wants to snack and do her homework at the same time. So, she does a few 360 degree turns for style points and zips down the hall, with our two cats and the geriatric dog all diving for safety as she makes like Mario Andretti to fetch her books.
I can't complain, so I won't. The cold is beginning to subside and my excitement for bottling day is overwhelming my desire to belly ache. I am so proud of this rosé and I know my wife Ciera will be thrilled when she gets to taste it for the first time. So there you have it. Tomorrow is rosé day, and if you would like to buy some, it's up in the shop. This is the 2019 James Berry Vineyard Rosé of Counoise and with a total bottling of 85 cases, it's not going to be in stock long.
Until next time, I'll leave you with this quote from Doc:
"The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?"
Below: one of the last few bottles of our last vintage of JBV Rosé.
Well folks, here we are again. Another Wednesday has come and gone. Welcome to the weekly Ledge Vineyards blog-o-rama!
It was a lovely day for us here on the rancho. We blended a few small lots of wine and delivered them to a couple of restaurants in Southern California: Decker Kitchen in Westlake Village and We're Pouring in Glendale. Both of these fine establishments will have Ledge Grenache by the glass every day. We don't make many kegs but are having fun with it. It's a neat way to get our wines out to a wider audience. Perhaps exposing Ledge wines those who haven't heard of us, aren't really Rhône varietal afficianados, or folks who aren't aware that Paso Robles is an exploding wine region.
It's big. green country.
Look at the greenery!
Whelp, that's it for me tonight. You see, my daughter and I are going to film a bunch of silly videos with computer generated backgrounds like the Eiffel Tower, Hawaii, Under the Sea, Rollercoaster... you get the picture.
Stay tuned, I am going to start recording farmer and winemaker videos that relate to all of our releases as well as the practices employed here on the estate vineyard.
TTFN and see ya later aligators.
Welcome to a new year and the bottom of a new decade. We have exciting things to report, so let's jump right into it.
January will bring us closer to the release of two new wines, the 2017 MCA Cuvèe and a limited bottling of the 2019 James Berry Vineyard Rosé. MCA Cuvèe is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsaut, and the Rosé is from Counoise. We will be offering select establishments kegs of the red blend, so ask for it in wine bars that carry wines on tap. This is an exciting and fun move for us, since we can offer very special and sometimes even single barrel selections of delicious Ledge wines.
POPUPS POPUPS POPUPS
We will be hosting a Ledge Pop Up Tasting at 15 Degrees C Wine shop in Templeton, California on January 19th from 2-5pm. Ciera and I will be on hand to discuss the wines, the farming and how to join us at the estate for private tastings.
Due to the overwhelming success of our December dinner, Decker Kitchen in Westlake Village will host another event on February 9th. Stand by for RSVP information on that one.
LEDGEFEST LEDGEFEST LEDGEFEST
Mark your calendars for April 18th. Wine club members will get the first chance to RSVP for this private event, which will feature select Ledge wines, food, live music and overnight camping in our vineyard meadow. This is an invitation only situation, so please email us with questions about wine club membership for the festivities.
We are making a move to host three such festivals annually. One here at the Adams Ranch, one in Northern California and one in Southern California.
We are alsways available to discuss winemaker dinners, private tastings and pop up tastings, no matter the size. Music is always fun for us to organize and incorporate into these tastings, so let us help you make it memorable. Contact us for details.
BIEN NACIDO SYRAH
We are very excited to release our first vintage of Bien Nacido Syrah. As we develop the Adams Ranch Vineyard we will be focusing on three estates: James Berry Vineyard, Bien Nacido Vineyard and Adams Ranch Vineyard. Stay tuned for release details.
More next week.
Happy New Year to you and yours!
Mark & Ciera
Greetings snd salutations from our cabin on the hill.
We hope this update finds you well. We have a few updates to share with you during these holiday times.
The Ledge / Decker Kitchen winemaker dinners were a resounding success, both the 5:30 and 7:15 seatings were sold out and the wines paired brilliantly with the food. If you are in the Thousand Oaks area, don't hesitate to pop in for a bite and some wine. We have Grenache Blanc on tap (they bought our last keg) and several Ledge wines by the glass and bottle. For some reason our G2 Vineyard Tannat is enjoying an upswing in popularity, and we have been fielding a ton of requests for this wine. Decker Kitchen purchased the last case of the 2015 vintage and we are blasting through the last 7 cases of the 2014. It is not up in the store, but it is available by request via email by clicking here.
In other wine news, we are preparing to bottle our 2019 James Berry Vineyard Rosé, which is 95% Counoise and 5% Cinsaut. We picked it for the purpose of rosé and will be bottling about 80 cases of this wine, so keep your ear to the rail for this release. As for the reds, our 2018 Bien Nacido Syrah is on the horizon for a 2020 spring release, as well as the new MCA Cuvée, which will be a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsaut. We are getting more ande more Rhône-ly, and beginning with the 2019 vintage, Ledge will only producing Rhône varietal wines.
On the vineyard front, rehabilitation is in effect, as we are preparing to fill in damaged and gopher gobbled vines. We have a hefty chunck of Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne Cinsaut and Counoise on order and will be working hard to get the estate vineyard back to it's full potential.
Ciera has been working hard on the administrative front, streamlining wine club options and making things more efficiant in general for you all. We will be hosting LedgeFest again this April 18th for all wine club members, complete with library wine offerings, new releases, live music, food and panoramic views of the Willow Creek District from the comfort of our "field of dreams", which is a large meadow just beyond our Grenache vines.
We hope to see you soon.
I'll check in with you again on January 1st, 2020.
Peace be with you!
There are only a few seats left for our 5:30pm Ledge Winemaker Dinner at Decker Kitchen in Westlake Village this Sunday 12/22/19. If you would like to try to snap them up, RSVP here: 818.735.9577 or by emailing email@example.com
We will be pairing 5 wines with 5 courses, prepared by Graham Harris, owner and chef at Decker Kitchen. Graham is an old family friend who actually helped us plant our first block of Syrah here at the Adams Ranch Vineyard in 2005. We also played in a band together. We are close friends and very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. This dinner will kick off an exclusive relationship with Decker Kitchen and Ledge Vineyards, one in which we hold regular wine tastings and winemaker dinners, as well as offer Decker Kitchen some exclusive library wines for tastings as well as for purchase at the restaurant.
Fun side note, next door to Decker Kitchen is the Regency Theater, where I onced worked as an usher tearing tickets and sweeping up popcorn. I should add that I was highly overqualified and applied for this job because the theater chain was owned by Regent Entertainment, who had just won an oscar for the film Gods and Monsters starring Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave. My thinking was that if I worked my ass off as an usher, I could gain employment on their productions in Hollywood. The gambit payed off and I soon found myself working on several of their productions in the art department. This eventually led to my working at Sony Pictures as a sound effects editor. This was an amazing time in my life, but one that led me to the realization that I needed to work outside, ultimately on a farm, and with any luck, our family farm in Paso Robles. Thankfully the stars aligned and I was able to invest my time and all available resources into planting and farming the Adams Ranch Vineyard. A huge factor here was that I was able to apprentice at Saxum and eventually become their first employee.
So this humble and artsy corner of Westlake Village holds a very dear place in my heart and we hope that you stay tuned for our future tastings at this restaurant and wine bar. Who knows, maybe we can pop next door and catch a flick at the Regency. I'll smuggle in the wine.
That's a wrap on this one.
Until next time, we'll see you at the movies.
Happy 12/12/19 earthlings!
Interested in tasting Ledge wines over the hoilidays? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full moon fever is upon us.
It will actually be completely full tomorrow, 12/13/19, but you'd never guess by looking at it tonight.
It's the last full moon of the decade and it's blasting over the horizon and slipping up into the stars as I write this.
I spent today riding my broom around the wine cellar and making these final blends (to be bottled in January):
2017 MCA Cuvée (Paso Robles)
(Grenache 40%, Syrah $40%, Cinsaut 20%)
Sourced from Adams Ranch Vineyard, James Berry Vineyard, Adelaida Vineyard and Rolph Family Vineyard.
Aged 26 months in new and used French oak vessels, 300-500 liters.
2019 MCA Rosé (Willow Creek, Paso Robles)
100% Counoise from James Berry Vineyard
Slowly bladder pressed and cold fermented in a stainless steel tank over the course of 3 months.
I'll check in again at the 3rd quarter moon.
Whelp, we did it.
We got about 30 tons of organic compost cast thoughout the vineyard just in the nick of time. It started raining like hell immediately afterwards. Close call. The last thing we needs is a big tractor stuck in the muck out there.
Next up in the vineyards before we ring in the new year is to do a vine count and continue operation rehabilitation. In the spring we will bring in 2 year old nursery vines to fill in some gaps in the vineyard.
I was really happy with how the Bunkhouse Block of Syrah performed in the cellar. The Bunkhouse is planted to Shiraz Clone 7 (Australia) and Syrah N Clone 747 (France), whereas the Ledge and Meter by Meter blocks are the Estrella clone, named for the Estralla River plantings of Gary Eberly who supposedly got the source material from the Chapoutier family's Hermitage Vineyard in the Rhône. I may experiment with other clones, depending on what is available for 2 year olds.
In other good news, Ledge made the top 100 wines of the year from critic Jeb Dunnuck, who compiled his list from over 10,000 reviews of wines from all over the world. We ranked 42.
All of the 2019 wines are safely in barrel and taste great. We are a bit more ripe across the board this year with the Adams Ranch Vineyard delivering brix around 27 and both James Berry Vineyard and Bien Nacido coming in over 28. We used a bit more new oak than usual as a result. They will soak it right up and find their zone. I am confident of that.
Excited for 2020!
My daughter has a loose tooth. She won't let me pluck it out. Bummer.
I'm enjoying the rain and my family.
Are you in need of wine for the Holidays? Visit the Ledge online wine shop and stock up. Some cool verticals up for sale.
Hope this update finds you well.
Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire...
It's been over a decade since I've been to Las Vegas and I am currently wrapping up almost a week here with Ciera, Elizabeth and Ciera's Parents Bob and Carla, who brought us out for a post-harvest Thanksgiving vacation. You two rock, thank you!
Some notable highlights:
Chef Dylan Hallas, a Ledge afficionado and Chef de Cuisine at Wolfgang Puck, MGM Las Vegas, proved to be an amazing host, guiding us to a few hot spots. We had the pleasure of hosting Dylan at the ranch in Paso Robles and I suppose this was his way of showing his appreciation.
First was Thai restaurant Lamaii Las Vegas, from owner/sommelier Bank Atcharawan, who focuses on Riesling, Champagne and Chablis. That said, I spied Saxum Hexe and Broken Stones in the wine cellar. Nice. The food was insane and the wine list was very impressive for any establishment, especially a charming little Thai place tucked off of the strip.
We visited Garagiste wine room and merchant from founders Mario Enriquez and Eric Prato, who are working to advance the presence of wine culture in Las Vegas, especially with regard to small, mostly grower-based producers from all over the world. Little producers not unlike Ledge. These guys have a charming room and a philosophy very much in line with what Ciera and I are doing on the ranch. Great spot.
After Garagiste I was treated to some of the best street tacos I've ever tasted, but I couldn't tell you the name of the truck or where it was parked. I took four of these amazing $1.50 tacos down like they were breaths of air. I'll circle back and edit this post when I get more details.
Finally, Chef Hallas treated Ciera, Elizabeth and me to his culinary sorcery with a dizzying array of flavors at Wolfgang Puck, spoiling us with delights from soup to nuts. Rounds of delicious starters, fresh fish, perfectly cooked steaks, Wolfgang Puck's signature smoked salmon pizza, and our absolute favorite, agnolotti "dal plin", little pasta squares stuffed with veal, cabbage and Parmigiano with nutmeg and - - oooh baby -- shaved Magnatum Pico (white truffles). All of this with delightful deserts and wines and all in the charming company of Dylan's wonderful fiancee Nicole. Ciera and I can't stop talking about it. You guys spoiled us. So. Much. Fun. Thank you Dylan!
We're headed back to Paso Robles with satified bellies, neon stars in our eyes and the satisfaction of striking it rich in Las Vegas. Rich with loving families, talented and generous new friends and a lifestyle that mandates the respect of a variety of cultures and their respective artisinal wares.
Viva Las Vegas.
I hear it's raining back home.
Time to go back and sing in it.
Whelp, thats a wrap on harvest for Ledge Vineyards.
Adams Ranch Vineyard (Paso Robles, Willow Creek):
Syrah, Grenache and Roussanne red blend
James Berry Vineyard (Paso Robles, Willow Creek):
Grenache, Mourvédre, Syrah, Roussanne red blend
Rosé of Counoise
Bien Nacido (Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley):
MCA Cuvèe (Paso Robles / Santa Barbara):
A red blend of Adams Ranch Vineyard, James Berry Vineyard and Bien Nacido Vineyard
A big thank you to Jordan Collins who assisted me in the vineyard and in the cellar. Jordan is a hard working and knowledgeable young man who also happens to be the son of Neil and Marci Collins of Lone Madrone, Tablas Creek and Bristols Cider House, fine establishments all. Thank you Jordan as well as my wife Ciera and daughter Elizabeth for your patience during these long days. Hip hip. Hip hip. Hip hip.
I would also like to thank the Academy, my agent Ari Graepsenstüff, my dog Fifi, my stylist Roberto, my trainer Gustavo, our vineyard manager Clavo, the House of Ways and Means on Winding Creek, Señor Ramirez our varmint slayer, pedal steel consultant Bob Hamilton, Barbara my editor, Roderico of Red Ale, Daryl Von Chardonwah, my personal chef Celine, Pablo the B-Bender, our archivist Timmer and last but not least Mom and Dad.
Some of the above are in jest, some not. Saxum gets a huge shout out for granting us a corner of their amazing space. Hello Senator.
Now a little rest and family time, after which I get to focus on the real winners, the vines. We are spreading organic compost in the vineyard and praying for rain. Some dormant time will be followed by some tilling and more nutrients, cover crop prep, pruning, bud break, flowering, fruit set, veraison, shoot thinning and fruit dropping...
Holy shit, then it's harvest again!
Hindsight is 2020.
...and then there were three.
The final ferments for Ledge are happily ticking away:
Bien Nacido Syrah (two tanks) and a James Berry Vineyard Rhône blend (co-ferment) of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdere and Roussanne.
Adams Ranch Syrah, Roussanne and Grenache are tucked away in barrel and our JBV Counoise rosé is undergoing a slow cold ferment which will gently ferment away for a few months.
More next week,
Vineyard Photo Credit: Kyla Rudd
Cellar Photos: Mark Adams