While out on the tractor today I noticed what a neat variety of soils we have on the Adams Ranch. Here is a little breakdown. Enjoy!
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mostly of quartz sand, but it can also contain significant amounts of feldspar, and sometimes silt and clay. Sandstone that contains more than 90% quartz is called quartzose sandstone. When the sandstone contains more than 25% feldspar, it is called arkose or arkosic sandstone. When there is a significant amount of clay or silt, geologists refer to the rock as argillaceous sandstone. The color of sandstone varies, depending on its composition. Argillaceous sandstones are often gray to blue. Because it is composed of light colored minerals, sandstone is typically light tan in color. Other elements, however, create colors in sandstone. The most common sandstones have various shades of red, caused by iron oxide (rust). In some instances, there is a purple hue caused by manganese. These rocks are near the Meter by Meter Syrah Block on the northeast side of the property. It is a favorite spot to hunt fossils - usually clams - which can be seen in earlier blog posts.
Gravel deposits are a common geological feature, being formed as a result of the weathering and erosion of rocks. The action of rivers and waves tends to pile up gravel in large accumulations. This can sometimes result in gravel becoming compacted and lithified into the sedimentary rock called conglomerate. Where natural gravel deposits are insufficient for human purposes, gravel is often produced by quarrying and crushing hard-wearing rocks, such as sandstone, limestone, or basalt. Quarries where gravel is extracted are known as gravel pits. Southern England possesses particularly large concentrations of them due to the widespread deposition of gravel in the region during the Ice Ages. This soil type is foung in our Lake Block (planted to Roussanne and Grenache). Fun Fact: before we planted grapes here, this was indeed a gravel pit. We used it to grade roads. It's a big beautiful orange rocky mess. It was also a lake that my brother and sister and I used to swim and fish in. After repeated dry years it was useless as a reservoir, so we filled it in and planted grapes here.
Galets roulés are components of the terrain, or terroir, and a distinguishing feature of many of the vineyards in the Côtes du Rhône AOC and more specifically Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC and other top wine producing areas in the regions such as Gigondas_AOC and Vacqueyras_AOC. They are often larger, rounded stones that have been smoothed by both glacial and fluvial actions over time and deposited in the region by the Rhone river. We aren't sure what river rolled these stones. It is very likely that our ranch is the result of a tectonic shift that brought an ancient seashore and perhaps a river mouth to our part of the Willow Creek Sub AVA, which, by the way is mostly calcareous soils. These rocks and soils are not common on the west side of Paso Robles. These large deposits of rolled stones are found in the Lake Block. I smash them to bits with the mower regularly.
Sand consists of small particles of weathered rock. Sandy soils are one of the poorest types of soil for growing plants because it has very low nutrients and poor in holding water, which makes it hard for the plant’s roots to absorb water. This type of soil is very good for the drainage system. Sandy soil is usually formed by the breakdown or fragmentation of rocks like granite, limestone, and quartz. Most of the Adams ranch has a sub layer of clay 4-6 feet below the sandy loam. This acts as a spongey reservoir and retains water quite well. Grapes are resilient. They are up for the challenge - struggling in the sand but pushing their roots through to the clay. Clay saves the day!
Terra rossa (Italian for "red soil") is a well-drained, reddish, clayey to silty clayey soil with neutral pH conditions and is typical of the Mediterranean region. The reddish color of terra rossa is the result of the preferential formation of hematite over goethite. This soil type typically occurs as a discontinuous layer that ranges from a few centimeters to several meters in thickness that covers limestone and dolomitebedrock in karst regions. The high internal drainage and neutral pH conditions of terra rossa are a result of the karstic nature of the underlying limestone and dolomite. Terra rossa is also found associated with Mediterranean climates and karst elsewhere in the world. Compared to most clayey soils, terra rossa has surprisingly good drainage characteristics. This makes it a popular soil type for wine production. Among other wine regions, it is found in La Mancha in Spainand the Coonawarra, Fleurieu and Barossa Valley growing areas in Australia. This soil is found in various parts of the ranch, but this photo was taken in the Fin Block, where we have Grenache planted.
Clay is the smallest particles amongst the other two types of soil. The particles in this soil are tightly packed together with each other with very little or no airspace. This soil has very good water storage qualities and making hard for moisture and air to penetrate into it. It is very sticky to the touch when wet, but smooth when dried. Clay is the densest and heaviest type of soil which do not drain well or provide space for plant roots to flourish. That said - the northern part of our Meter by Meter Syrah Block and our lower block of Cinsaut are thriving just a stone's throw away from where this photo was taken. Another Fun Fact: I have learned to process this clay with a fining method and turn it into blocks of clay suitable for ceramics. While I am a beginner - I have learned to spin this clay on a wheel and make pieces from Adams Ranch clay. Mugs for everyone this Christmas! LOL
Loam is the fourth type of soil. It is a combination of sand, silt, and clay such that the beneficial properties from each is included. For instance, it has the ability to retain moisture and nutrients, hence, it is more suitable for farming. This soil is also referred to as an agricultural soil as it includes an equilibrium of all three types of soil materials being sandy, clay, and silt and it also happens to have hummus. Apart from these, it also has higher calcium and pH levels because of its inorganic origins. This photo was taken outside of our Cinsaut block.
Thank you for reading. See you next week. The wine shop is open and has some really fun, rare wines.
Mark & CIera & Elizabeth
We have been dipping in to a few of our library wines at home and feel that it is high time we share these wines with you. Your orders keep streaming in and we thank you for your patronage.
Click on the WINES section to view our updated shop. We are excited to offer you not only our current releases, but selections that are on fumes and will simply not last long. We are also covering the shipping on certain orders.
A friend texted me today who wanted to buy more of the 2015 MCA Cuvée. I was certain we had a few more cases remaining. I was wrong.
We are putting the 2013 and 2014 Vineyard Drive in the shop along with the 2016 and 17 MCA Cuvée Blends.
There is also a 4 bottle Vertical of Dante Dusi Zinfandel: 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
As far as Grenache, the 2015 Rolph Family Vineyard Grenache is down to 6 cases. The 2016 is down to 14 cases.
Snap them up and tell us what you think. Our reviews section can offer a little guidance. We are happy to report that they all hover in the mid 90s scoring wise.
We are currently offering free shipping on all orders of 6 bottles or more via UPS Ground (to licensed regions) within the continental United States. For orders of 3-5 bottles we are offering $10 shipping.
San Luis Obispo County residents are eligible for free shipping on orders of 3 bottles or more. Use promo code SLOCO.
To those of you not in SLO County, DON'T CHEAT. Ciera will catch you.
You have better chances of writing us a Ledge Love Letter to get a break on your shipping.
Keep on Keepin' on. We miss you all so.
Ciera and Mark Adams
(805) 434-8663 (text or cell)
As you may know, Ledge is planted completely to Rhône grape varieties. Currently, we are planted exclusively to Châteauneuf du Pape grape varieties and are currently missing our favorite Rhône wine festival in Paso Robles.
In honor of Hopsice Du Rhône, the largest celebration of Rhône wines in the world, we wanted to post a few factoids and resourses for further exploration. We look forward to future gatherings!
THE LEDGE WINE SHOP IS OPEN.
If you are looking for rare or hard to find bottles, please EMAIL US WITH YOUR WISH LIST
Please also check out these Rhône Wine Related Organizations.
Rhône Grape Varieties
Twenty-Two Rhône Wine Varieties
Bourboulenc: (Burr-buh-lanc) light bodied, delicate floral, citrus, peach, melon, earth
Camarese: (Cam-are-ess) firm, tannins, delicate aromatics, pepper, spice
Carignane Noir: (Care-ig-non No-our) tannic, solid acidity, good color, cherry, raspberry, pepper
Cinsault Noir: (Sahn-so No-our) elegant, soft & lightly aromatic, strawberry, raspberry, smoke, earth
Clairette Blanc: (Claret Blan) big bodied, floral, aromatic, honeysuckle, tropical flowers, tropical fruits
Clairette Rose: (Clare-et Rose) light aromatics, fruit notes, soft strawberry, cherry, rose petal
Counoise Noir: (Coon-wahz No-our) lively acidity, spice, richness, raspberry, cherry, cranberry
Grenache Blanc: (Gra-nash blan) big bodied, soft, delicate peach, melon, pear
Grenache Gris: (Gra-Nash Gree) full-bodied, light in color, delicate strawberry, cherry, rose petal
Grenache Noir: (Gra-Nash o-our) big bodied, supple, & rich strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, black pepper
Marsanne: (Mar-san) broad palate, soft & rich, peach, nectarine, stone fruits, tuberose, sweet nuts
Mourvèdre: (More-ved) tannic, deeply colored, aromatic, black currant, dark cherries, leather, smoke, earth
Muscardin: (Mus-car-dan) floral, aromatic, firmly structured, rose petal, barnyard, earth
Muscat a Petits Grains: (Mus-cat ah Pet-eet Grahn) aromatic, floral, musk, honey, honeysuckle, lily, stone fruit
Picpoul Blanc: (Peek-pool Blan) floral, soft, aromatic, pear, earth, lily, daisy, wildflowers
Picpoul Noir: (Peek-pool No-our) floral, elegant, aromatic, rose, violet, dark cherry
Roussanne: (Roo-sahn) firmly structured, powerful, very rich, apricot, honey, almond, nutmeg, honeysuckle, iris
Syrah/Shiraz: (C-rah)/(She-raz) highly colored, firmly structured and aromatic, plum, raspberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, violet, roasted meats, smoke, chocolate, pepper, anise
Terret Noir: (Tare-it No-our) delicate, perfumed, bright acidity, rose petal, lavender, dark berries, spice
Ugni Blanc: (Ewn-yee Blan) delicate fruit, good acidity, pear, honey-dew melon, earth
Vaccarese: (Vac-car-ess) aromatic, firmly tannic, floral, pepper, spice, earth, smoke
Viognier: (Vee-ohn-yea) big bodied, very aromatic, complex apricot, musk, peaches, grapefruit, lychee, papaya, mango, tropical flowers
You guys should have purchased this wine when it was available.
Review by Stephen McConnell.
Honestly. Thanks for your purchases.
We are grateful.
Bien Nacido is not to be missed. Fair warning.
Shop is open.
If you are in the medical field we will send you wine for free.
SOOOOO FRUITY. But not in a *fruit-FWD* way or a Jolly Rancher way, no, this is dark, ridiculously concentrated and plummy fruit but with a sharp youthful edge to it, teetering on fresh-cut crass and even mixing barnyard around with the cherries on top. Nutty gravitas backs up the fruit on the nose almost like Champagne does. Toasted almond and a the pang of thorny berry leave a searing gash freely gushing pink cherry and crème de cassis.
Oh how I love the ways of Tannat. but this is not Basque country here boys & girls–this is pure Californ-i-ay, with barely a hint of rusticity. Straight BLOOD on the nose, a bloody pandemonium of bubbly fruit, but oh so restrained. No chubby cores, no oxidized edges, no cellar floor, no tar & brimstone, no coarseness. That’s a Hugh Johnson word. One I think I might mix into common wine-usage again. “The wines of the Pyrenees are coarser than the rest of France.”
More restraint in the mouth. Paso??? Restraint??? I remember many years ago I posted one of my stupid conversation-points on the facebook–this time about *wines with restraint* from Paso Robles. Of course many many comments later–most of which were ludicrous in their assertions–most of them jerk-off fanbois of a style quite hilarious alongside restraint–Ian Cauble goes, “Ledge.” I was like, WTF is this Mark Adams guy and where do I get these wines?
But wait. We were tasting this wine. Try to focus, Steve. In the mouth, the acid and structure take center-stage. All that fruit sits there and dwaddles in this rich bath of acid, fluxing everything for the application of tannin to follow shortly. Oh but it’s rich and decadent–holy shit one of those wines you just go HOW DO THEY DO THAT. Black cherry, tart and fresh runs rampant, blood orange and oily paprika in a pan. Cool and indifferent to your Paso stereotypes, the light and fresh finish is pure Tannat tannin heroin in a sweet tea package.
Kinda in awe of this wine not gonna lie.
2014 LEDGE Tannat G2 Willow Creek Paso Robles 15.5
Here is a nice review of our 2018 Bien Nacido Block 11 Syrah. Available for delivery in the shop now!
From Stephen McConnell April 7, 2020
The color on this kinda gives away what it’s got in mind for you. Stupidly florescent purple crimson, day-glow Welch’s with a core of black so moon-less an owl couldn’t see through it. Impenetrable in the nose too–or rather doesn’t allow anything else to penetrate. Carmel-sugar briar, the kind of green buggy stew only arising from flogging brush, spray flying, tight cranberry providing the top layer of bright fruit and dense black licorice-ridden bloody stew blackberry. Lots of air pulls some buttery richness out–all that fruit and spice stays on its blood-orange-zest perch–brooding hand-in-hand with the acid.
I promise I will not use the word BLACK in this review again. Here’s the deal with these wines: Easily one of the best-kept secrets on the Central Coast–if not all of California. These wine lay so far under most serious Syrah collectors’ radar, it frankly shocks me sometimes. And they’re not *that* expensive. Let’s put it this way: if Saxum or Pax or some of Washington’s new darling child’s are in your cellar–or glass–you OWE it to yourself to get these wines. I’ll even promise your money back if not 100% thrilled and converted. *George Zimmer voice* I GUARANTEE IT.
Coy in the mouth. It doesn’t whistle randily at you as you might suspect from the jam-packed nose. Clean and tight and laser-focused. *Thin* isn’t exactly the proper word here, but the amount of transparent fluidity that deposits itself onto the tongue is shocking. The first one-third is ruled by elegant cherry and cola. A streak of sexy bitter raises up–raising the hair on your neck–arcing shark-fin-like from the rear forward, disappearing into the now-chunky fruit roll-up partitions your poor brain is trying to compartmentalize this wine into. Fresh fruit keeps pouring in, obfuscating your attempts to wrap up any thoughts. Sagebrush tannin and herbes de Provence angst prod the wild youthful fruit that has now occupied the finish.
Paso Robles Syrah brilliance meets Bien Nacido. That’s all I’m gonna say. This is a ridiculously delicious wine slaughtering Syrah stereotypes and doing it with such unpretentiousness.
2018 LEDGE Syrah Bien Nacido Santa Barbara Co. 15.5
Quick update and then I need to get on the tractor and mow like the wind. The generous rainfall has turned our cover crop into a veritable nitrogen-fixing jungle.
WINE SHOP UPDATE
We ordinarily taste by appointment and sell most of our wines directly, but in these challenging times we have opened our online wine shop to the general public and will ship these wines directly to your door. Please review the list and visit the shop at /wines
Currently in the shop:
2018 Bien Nacido Syrah (95-97+ pts Dunnuck) NEW RELEASE
2017 Adams Ranch Vineyard (95 pts Vinous, 94+ pts Dunnuck) NEW RELEASE
2017 Ledge “MCA Cuvée” Red Blend NEW RELEASE
2019 James Berry Vineyard Rosé (Counoise) NEW RELEASE
2017 James Berry Vineyard Rhône Blend (95+ Dunnuck) WINE CLUB ONLY
NOT IN SHOP BUT AVAILABLE BY REQUEST (please email us with a wish list):
2015 Ledge Grenache (95 Dunnuck, 94 Vinous)
2016 Ledge Grenache (94 Dunnuck)
2015 Ledge “MCA Cuvée” (92-94 Dunnuck, 93 Vinous)
2014 Ledge Dante Dusi Zinfandel (91-93 Dunnuck)
2015 Ledge Dante Dusi Zinfandel (NR)
2014 Ledge Vineyard Drive Red Blend (91-93 Dunnuck, 93 Vinous)
2016 Ledge “MCA Cuvée” (93 Dunnuck)
Don’t hesitate to email us with any questions.
We wish you all well.
Mark and Ciera Adams
A skunk sat on a stump.
The stump thunk the skunk stunk.
The skunk thunk the stump stunk.
We know that all of the current craziness really stinks and we hope you are managing as well as can be expected.
We are trucking along and staying positive.
We will open up the wine shop to the public next week. Wine Club shipments go out this Monday the 30th.
In the meantime, NEWS!
Ciera has been working hard running the business end of things and making sure everyone's wine club orders are properly prepped. Elizabeth is working on a variety of school projects from home and maintaining a healthy "cyber social life" and I've been working on pruning, building our nursery and preparing to shoot short videos about our wines and the vineyards that they come from.
This is also my favorite time to walk around the ranch and hunt for neat stones and organisms of all stripes. For example, I was delighted to literally stumble upon this volleyball-sized rock today that is loaded with shells. You wouldn't know it. The clams were almost completely covered in sandstone. Elizabeth and I took warm water, vinegar and a toothbrush to it and are excited to clean it up even further.
This is a perfect example of the rare terroir that we have up here at the Adams Ranch, old sandstone and beaches, where our neighbors have limestone, vertebrate fossils and calcareous soils.
A Volleyball Sized Rock Loaded with Shells, Found near the Meter-By-Meter Syrah planting.
Adams Ranch Vineyard (3/25/2020).
Elizabeth and Ciera at the Nursery, with the Lake Block (Roussanne) and Fin (Grenache) behind them.
Adams Ranch Vineyard (3/24/2020).
Elizabeth at the Ball Field with the Orchard and Fin Blocks beside her.
Adams Ranch Vineyard (3/25/2020).
We hope this finds you well and somewhat occupied in these times of separation and uncertainty. We are organizing the house (game closet, pantry, office, shed, attic, etc.) and preparing for bud break in the vineyard. We are happy to report that wine has been considered an "essential" item by the State of California and Ledge is accepting and delivering wine orders. We will follow up soon with a complete list of wines available for delivery, but do not hesitate to inquire by email with any questions.
Take care out there,
Mark & Ciera
PS. We havent forgotten about sharing new photos. Stay tuned and we will update this post.
The vines have been pruned in their various methods (goblet, guyot and cordon), and we are collecting cuttings for the nursery. The cover crop looks great and is loaded with various clovers, grasses and legumes which will remain in place for a week or so longer when we will mow and hoe the vineyard. We are grateful for the rain and hope to get a few more inches this week. Photos to come.
Should you need wine at this time, please contact us, we are delivering - which may be handy as you are likely hunkering down like we are. Wine club will be processed on Monday the 16th, at which time the online store will open and the general public will have access to our inventory. Thanks as always for reading and stay safe out there.
Mark & Ciera