Long Meadow Ranch Winery Rutherford Napa Valley Red Blend Reserve 2013
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Long Meadow Ranch 2013 Rutherford Estate Napa Valley Red Blend Reserve
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon
GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Rutherford, Napa Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 14.50%
This is a very special Bordeaux style Reserve Red Blend that is primarily Cabernet and quite a beautiful wine. Long Meadow Ranch is highly regarded and their wines have received well deserved press and consumer acclaim. It is located in the heart of Napa Valley’s Rutherford appellation. A marquee wine that is not inexpensive as it is from their best lots on their Estate from the spectacular 2013 picture perfect vintage. This vintage is quite interesting because while it has big fruit, the tannins are smooth and supple and the wine will be both approachable early and has long term aging potential. The family is impressive and they have a very enlightened vision for the winery. They are adamant about sustainable organic farming and next to the property they own the Farmstead restaurant which is a mainstay on Napa’s Route 29 known for fresh, organic food. I recently sat down with winemaker and proprietor Chris Hall, who is smart and soft spoken but very passionate about his Winery and excited about how great the wines are from his amazing 2013 vintage. In fact, Hall believes that 2013 could be one of the best vintages in the history of the Winery. Their Estate Cabernet is absolutely wonderful, but smaller lots of Malbec and Merlot gives the wine added complexity and the end product is compelling and worthy for special occasions. It was aged for a year in French oak, 50% of which was new. A dynamic taste profile that is elegant, complex, layered, and delightful. The dominant fruits are black cherries, dark raspberry and cassis. It also has black plum, vanilla spice, dark chocolate, sage, currants and a cinnamon spice box. I especially like the intensity, depth of flavor and the layering of the fruit. It is drinking nicely now, but will get even better over the next several years and has aging potential for many years. A nice mouth feel with a pleasing finish. One of the best views and romantic dinners in Napa Valley is at Auberge du Soleil. Pair this beautiful wine with some of their specialties including Kurobuta pork belly, Prime beef Pavee with glazed chestnut, bacon wrapped veal and spiced local lamb with medjool dates and pistachios. Enjoy 2015-2025. Less than 1,000 cases were produced. Sampled in the summer of 2014 in barrel and after bottling on Nov. 16, 2014 with consistent tasting notes.
By Long Meadow Ranch Winery
2013 Red Wine Reserve Rutherford Napa Valley
Vineyard: Estate Grown
Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 15% Malbec
Cooperage: Aged in new and used (50/50) French oak
Food Affinities: Perfect with LMR grass-fed Highland beef, lamb, or roasted game.
The versatility of our Rutherford Estate vineyards allows us to blend a classic Bordeaux-style wine with unique flavors and aromatics. The Cabernet Sauvignon offers structure, dried cherry, and cedar spice, while the Merlot offers mineral-driven aromatics of iron and tarragon. The Malbec provides a richness on the mid-palate with darker flavors of blackberry compote and sweet herbs.
The 2013 vintage was a superb vintage. The unusually long season, moderate temperatures without a major heat spike, and lack of rains made for one of the best vintages in recent memory. An early spring bud break allowed our vineyards to get a two-week head start on the vintage, and the lack of frost meant that yields were excellent while the longer growing season allowed for full ripeness. The wines from this vintage will be outstanding in quality.
Long Meadow Ranch
Owned by Ted, Laddie, and Chris Hall, LMR employs an integrated, organic farming system, using simple, sustainable methods. Each part of the Ranch contributes to the health of the whole. Vineyards and wine making, olive orchards and olive oil making, cattle and horse breeding all work together in complementary fashion, as do the egg-laying poultry flock and the organic vegetable gardens. All crops are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and are grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers.
Our Mayacamas Estate, known as Long Meadow Ranch since at least the turn of the previous century, is dominated by a long, elegant meadow nestled into the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. The original land "patent" for the Ranch was signed by President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, in 1872 and was granted to a man named E. J. Church. The distinctive meadow is surrounded by hills and plateaus that, according to historical records, provided opportunities to cultivate grapes, apples, olives, and hay as well as to raise livestock. (Apparently, the Ranch at one time even included a goat milk dairy.) Olives and grapes may have been supplied to a facility on adjacent land to the west, the Hassenmeyer Winery, while other crops went to market by horse-drawn wagon down the winding narrow road serving the Ranch. Farming on the ranch was disrupted by the onset of Prohibition and the original vineyards and olive orchards were abandoned after about 1920. While the ranch was used intermittently for cattle and horse grazing in the years that followed, it ceased all commercial operations in the 1920s and its farmlands began a long, slow decay. Meanwhile, a new, substantial residence was constructed on the property in the late 1920s using a unique manufactured limestone block developed at a local Napa Valley building materials company, the Basalt Rock Company. For the next sixty years, the residence was used primarily as a weekend home. In 1989 our family acquired the property and began to lovingly restore the ranch to its turn of the century status as an important Napa Valley farming operation. The limestone block residence, with its commanding views of the Valley, has been restored to its original condition and the site has been landscaped by Napa Valley architect and sculptor, Jack Chandler. Surrounded by the 1997 Sunset Magazine Western Garden of the Year, the house is now the home to our family. As our activities have expanded over the past twenty-five years, "Long Meadow Ranch" has become our identity across multiple locations, including the original Mayacamas Estate (1989), our recently assembled Rutherford Estate (2002 - 2012), and our Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead destination location in St. Helena (2009).
Designed by award-winning architect, William Turnbull, our red winery building on the Mayacamas Estate is consistent with our philosophy and aspirations. Using the soils from digging our cave, we have constructed one of the largest rammed earth structures in North America. By using materials indigenous to the site we have helped demonstrate that constructing an elegant, functional building need not rely on manufactured materials from distant locations. Thermally efficient, this building is unique in that it requires no mechanical cooling or heating to perform its function. Wooden beams for the roofing system were recycled from an old building in Chico, California. The winery has received many awards, including the prestigious international award for commercial interior design from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The winery was featured in the San Francisco Examiner Magazine. In keeping with our overall approach, the estate's solar panel arrays generate enough electricity to supply much of our energy needs.
[Information provided by J.H.N.]
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.