Our sixty acres in the Stags Leap District stretch from the steep hillside terraces of the Poetry Vineyard to the valley floor Rhythm Vineyard surrounding the winery. An additional twenty acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, replanted in 2019, are located in the Calistoga sub-appellation in the northern end of Napa Valley, and the latest acquisition of eighty-six acres in Carneros is undergoing a complete replant. Cliff Lede Vineyards’ production is farmed by an in-house team overseen by Director of Vineyard Operations Allison Wilson and Vineyard Manager Beto Ochoa.
The estate Poetry Vineyard, carved into a steep west-facing hillside, reaches from the highest elevations of the Stags Leap District sub-appellation to the valley floor. This vineyard draws its uniqueness from shallow, volcanic soils atop fractured shale. Due to the stressful nature of the site, planted by David Abreu with high vine density, proprietary clonal selection, and farmed to very low yields, the vines develop slowly and produce small flavorful berries. Wine critic Robert Parker has called our flagship Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon “bottled perfection.” The vineyard is primarily planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, with small blocks of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Nestled between two large hills at its southern boundary, the valley floor vineyard that surrounds our winery is known as the Rhythm Vineyard. In contrast to the steep rocky blocks of the hillside Poetry Vineyard, the Rhythm Vineyard soil is composed of gravelly loam of varying depths and rock content.
We farm many small blocks of Bordeaux varieties with unique combinations of clonal selections and rootstocks. Situated at the northernmost edge of the Stags Leap District, this property forms the backbone of the Cliff Lede Cabernet program.
The “Rock Blocks”
Most vineyard blocks are mapped out with a straight-forward A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 system. After Cliff Lede tapped viticulturist David Abreu to replant the vineyards, the plantings were so specific and precise to each soil type and exposure that, to keep track of the blocks without having to refer to a clipboard, Cliff decided to name each block in the Rhythm and Poetry vineyards after some of his favorite rock songs and albums. Block names such as “My Generation” and “Dark Side of the Moon” created what is known today as the Cliff Lede Vineyards’ “Rock Blocks.” Our winemaking team gets creative with this invention, annually crafting a small-lot “mash up” bottling of two or more blocks. Past vintages have included names like “Cinnamon Stardust,” “Lonely Wizard,” and “Landslide Fire.” Check out the full playlist of our Rock Blocks. Rock on!
Located at the base of Diamond Mountain in the western portion of the Calistoga appellation, our Calistoga vineyard estate has twenty acres of vineyard planted mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon, with a small block of Sauvignon Blanc. The gravelly loam soils are volcanic in origin with alluvial influence made evident by copious amounts of water-rolled gravel and large cobbles. While Calistoga can experience quite hot daytime temperatures, our estate is protected from the hot afternoon sun by Diamond Mountain to our west. Cool breezes from the Pacific are drawn in by the narrow gap between Napa and Sonoma Counties further mediating the hot days.
Our 87-acre Carneros vineyard was added to our estate in 2019. The vineyard is comprised of clay and loam-based soils and boasts an exposed flat section on the east side with rolling hills to the west. The lower lying flat section was replanted mostly to Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in 2020. The adjacent hills, also replanted in 2020, feature Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sémillon.