These new releases from Ledge Vineyards are impressive. They are crafted by Mark Adams, former assistant winemaker to Justin Smith at Saxum Vineyards in Paso Robles. They include two vineyard designated wines from top vineyards, two pretty Rhone blends, and a Grenache and Zin. The wines are all very well made with a great deal of attention to detail beginning in the vineyard. Mark Adams clearly knows how to make elegant wines and to coax out the best flavors from the difficult Grenache grape. His Syrah is perhaps the most impressive of this portfolio, but we also liked very much his 2012 Grenache-based Catacombs blend.
Ledge Vineyards: Tel (805) 434-8663; E mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ledge 2012 Zinfandel Dusi Ranch Paso Robles ($55) 90+ The Zinfandel Dusi Ranch offers aromas and flavors of dried cherry fruit is a fresh fruit forward format. It is dry and crisp on the palate and is a pretty wine with moderate concentration and high acidity. The Dusi Ranch is a highly regarded source for Zinfandel and much of it has been sold to Ridge Vineyards since the late 1960s. It has also been a source of grapes for Turley’s fine Zins. It is quite approachable and will drink well over the next five years.
Ledge 2012 Catacombs Paso Robles ($35) 91 The 2012 Catacombs is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Zinfandel and 5% Syrah. It is a delicious wine, nicely evolved and flavorful offering red-berry fruit and spice It is nicely balanced and polished with good mouth feel, firm round tannins and a long finish. It is drinking well now but will get better in the bottle over the next five to seven years. Aged 18 months in new and neutral French oak.
Ledge 2011 Catacombs Paso Robles ($35) 89 The 2011 Catacombs is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre and small amounts of Counoise and Zinfandel. It is ripe and flavorful and easy drinking with flavors of plum and hints of spice. It isn’t as complete a wine as the 2012 Catacombs but is quite enjoyable. Aged 18 months in new and neutral French oak.
Ledge 2012 California Soul Zinfandel Paso Robles ($26) 89 This is an easy drinking, spicy fresh tasting Zinfandel for everyday drinking. Nothing complicated, but flavorful and enjoyable to drink now and over the next three-four years.
Ledge 2012 Los Topos Paso Robles ($26) 90 A 100% Grenache, the 2012 Los Topos offers delicious red berry fruit in an easy drinking format. It is flavorful and crisp with notable high acidity making it a good food wine. Not complex, but offers the freshness and flavor that makes Grenache such a terrific food wine. Aged 18 months in new and neutral oak.
Ledge 2012 Syrah James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles ($65) 92 This 100% Syrah is rich and flavorful offering spicy dark plum fruit and hints of smoke and loam. It has impressive concentration and mouth feel, polished tannins, and a persistent finish. Sourced from the organically farmed James Berry Vineyard which was planted back in 1980 on an ancient seabed by Justin Smith’s parents and is a superb source for Rhone varieties. Aged 18 months in new and neutral French oak. It can be enjoyed now but best to cellar it for a year or two. Maturity: 2016-2026
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler