Ledgewood Creek Winery
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: A Napa Cab for how much?
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Scoop another exclusive wine for our Operatives – and deliver it at a very special price
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Ledgewood Creek Winery & Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Larry Langbehn
Wineries have been flocking to The Wine Spies, offering us pre-release wines, tasting room only wines and other wine exclusives. Recently, a new field asset contacted Agent Red with a very special Cabernet Sauvignon – an exclusive – at a very special price. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below for the full intelligence briefing on this great wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with a deep red-to-purple heart with clean & clear edges and super skinny legs
Smell – Smoky and dark with deep fruit of plum, cherry and forest floor with cedar ground cover, saltlick and slight barnyard
Feel – Wet and ultra-light with balanced medium tannins
Taste – Wonderful round with up-front fruit of dark cherry, plum, black currant, leather, light mushroom and earth
Finish – Sweet and flavorful as the tastes taper slowly, leaving your mouth watering as the tannins turn from medium to soft
Conclusion – The Wine Spies are so lucky to have built such a great network of Spies, Operatives and other wine industry Assets. Without them, we would would be sure to miss certain wines. With literally thousands of wines to keep under surveillance, we have to admit that it’s impossible to keep close tabs on all of them. That’s why we rely on you to be our roving eyes, ears – and tasting palates out there.
This wine is a great Napa Cabernet Sauvignon with much of the classic character we have come to expect from big Napa Cabs. This wine, however, also has something else going on; Without giving up its Napa-sincerity, it’s got a light-hearted and almost playful quality that makes drinking the wine a pleasant, and even fun, experience. Many Napa Cabs can be overbearing and too fruit-driven, but this wine is more delicate. Not fragile, mind you, this wine could hold up to big red meats and other richly flavored dishes. Personally, I enjoyed sipping it on its own.
Finally, the best surprise of all with this wine is its price. We honestly expected a far higher price when we tasted this wine. grab some up, before we sell out!
With this mission brief, I am introducing our Operatives to a new high-level asset. His codename is Razor.
Razor is a wine industry insider with an impressive resume that that spans the wine world end-to-end. His connections go deep and his ability to bring us exclusive and rare wines goes even deeper.
For our first joint mission, Razor procured a very interesting wine for you. The winery, Ledgewood Creek Winery, is situated just to the east of wine haven Napa County. Ledgewood grows its own estate fruit here, but also sources the best grapes from top secret sources in Napa.
Exclusive Alert! Before the wine is released to the general public, today we are very pleased to bring you Ledgewood’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a wonderful Napa Cab in the classic style, but the wine is also more light-hearted than most of the huge Napa Cabs you have been procuring from us here at Wine Spies Central Command.
Because this wine is exclusive to our Operatives today, we only got our hands on a limited number of cases. That, combined with the excellent price of this wine, we expect to run out before the sale expires.
A big thank you to Ledgewood Creek, and a big thank you to Razor for bringing us this great wine. Oh, yeah, a big thank you to you as well, dear Operative! Without you, we’d be mission-less…
Wine Spies Technical Analysis:
Appellation: Napa Valley
Bottling Date: December 13, 2006
Fermentation: Fermented in stainless steel tanks
Months in Barrel: 16 months
Oak: 20% new
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Ledgewood Creek Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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We make a California-style Cabernet Sauvignon that is high in fruit and has a rich flavor. We highlight the wine’s concentration, strong fruit and well developed flavors. The dark fruit aromas show black plums and cherries along with some dark toast character from wood aging. The initial flavor is a burst of fruit followed by a mouth-filling flavor and gentle finish of fine grain tannins.
Larry Langbehn, Winemaker
History of Ledgewood Creek Winery
The winery’s beginnings date back to 1985 when Dean and Bunny Frisbie bought a pear orchard in the little know Suisun Valley viticultural area. To honor the pioneering Peabody family and their long-standing farming history in the valley, they named the orchard Peabody Ranch. By 1989, vineyards had replaced the pear orchard and the original Peabody Ranch was soon incorporated into what is now Ledgewood Creek Winery & Vineyards.
With Ledgewood Creek running along the property’s northern edge, the original Peabody Ranch vineyard proved so successful that the overall holdings few to include over 350 acres planted with grapes. In the fall of 2002, Ledgewood Creek Winery released its first wines from the 2001 harvest. The vineyards and winery remain family-owned and operated with patriarch Dean Frisbie as General Manager and son James sharing his time between wine sales and vineyard marketing.
The Frisbies’ philosophy has always been, “If it is broken, fix it…and if it is not, how can we improve upon it?” Those who grow the grapes at Ledgewood Creek work tirelessly to find the vineyard’s best expression of fruit quality and continued vine balance. This means constant fine tuning of canopy management, fertilization schedules, irrigation techniques, and crop tonnages. Fruit at Ledgewood Creek is harvested by hand – the red grapes by day, and the whites at night. Night harvesting, while costly and time consuming, has proven the best method to control the quality of the fruit harvested.
After the grapes are picked, consulting winemaker Larry Langbehn takes over and the magic begins. Carefully arranging his profile palate of flavors, aromas, acids, and tannins, Larry determines which lots are best for each label. With complete authority over barrel regime, he begins by using a selection of new and seasoned barrels. His flavor palate is ever-expanding with new aromas, textures, acids, and tannin levels. With all of these elements before him, he can then perform blending to produce the perfectly balanced wines that are Ledgewood Creek.
Our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are located a leisurely ten-minutes drive north of the Estate property in the Napa Valley appellation. The vineyard is on a broad alluvial plane surrounded on three sides by mountains. The still daytime air allows the temperature to rise while evening breezes help drop the nighttime temperature. It is the perfect climactic combination to develop the flavors and provide for a deep color.
We use two clones of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in our wine in equal proportions. Clone 337 is very fruity and has a strong middle texture to it. It is the basis and framework for the wine. The other is Clone 15. It adds dimension to the wine with a classic Caernet aroma. he Clone 15 was on the vine for an exceptionally long time in 2005 before harvesting. This gives the wine a rich and flavorful taste. The wine was aged in 20% new French oak for sixteen months.
Larry Langbehn – Consulting Winemaker
The Team at Ledgewood Creek Winery & Vineyard Consulting winemaker Larry Langbehn has been affiliated with Ledgewood Creek Winery since it started in 2001. He is responsible for all aspects of wine production, including processing methodology, styling, daily work schedules, and the layout and equipping of the cellar. As a consultant, Larry has a number of clients, from the Suisun Valley to Napa Valley to eastern Sonoma County.
Larry is a graduate of UC Davis, with a degree in chemistry and advanced coursework in winemaking. In fact, he spent several years as a practicing chemist before settling in to a career in the wine industry. He has a strong appreciation for a methodical approach to problem solving in general, and to wine making in particular.
Ledgewood Creek is a fairly new winery requiring Larry to focus attention on the style for each wine. The nature and quality of the grapes coming to the winery is the key in this process. As the grapes come from the vineyard, he determines processing and aging methods that guide the wines to their final flavor profile.
Langbehn has been making premium wines for nearly 30 years. He has worked with virtually all major varietals in California. His greatest experience is with Bordeaux varietals and Chardonnay. Recently, he has been honing his skills with Ledgewood Creek’s Rhone varietals and feels they are of superior quality. In addition to being a consultant in California, Larry has managed his own family winery, worked with winemakers in Eastern Europe and China, and even did a stint as a vinegar maker (deliberately).