I can confidently say, Jason Lede knows the Lede Family Wines portfolio intimately. The son of founder Cliff Lede, he has been around wine most of his life. Jason was born and raised in Alberta, Canada, and spent summers as a teen in California’s Napa Valley. His passion continues as he works to spread the winery’s name around the word. During lunch recently, I was honored to hear the story behind the winery and, of course, enjoy a tasting of the impeccable wines.
It was his father’s love of wine and enthusiasm for building that would point the family in the direction of Napa Valley. (That knack for building was no ordinary hobby, his father helped run one of the world’s largest construction companies.)
Cliff Lede Vineyards (pronounced “LayDee”) was founded in 2002 after Cliff Lede, a Bordeaux enthusiast, bought a 60-acre estate in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. From a viticulture standpoint the vineyards have the best of both worlds with valley floors and hillside land.
If you read my column regularly, you know I always enjoy hearing the stories behind the wines. Jason’s explanation of the vineyards was a favorite. Instead of numbering the vineyards’ blocks, as is often done, Cliff Lede devised a system better fitting his style. He named the blocks after famous rock albums and songs including “Walk on the Wild Side” “American Girl” and “Dark Side of the Moon.” Today they are referred to as the “Rock Blocks.”
In 2005, a 25,000-square foot winery and cave system were built into the hillside overlooking the estate vineyards. The winery was designed by world-renowned architect Howard Backen. And staying with the rock theme, the winery features the White Room, named after The Beatles’ White Album.
- 2016 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $27 retail)
- 2014 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $87 retail)