A Tasting with Ted
Five Key Steps to Understanding
Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon:
We have learned over the years that our wines can be most effectively presented by focusing on five key elements. If you have tasted with owner Ted Hall, you probably know the five points that he focuses on:
1. Nose: black cherries and a musical chord of red to black notes
2. "No heat!"
3. Mouth feel: seductive entry
4. Balanced tannins: firm structure hidden by balance
"1. The nose : You'll always find a base of rich mountain fruit drawing from a palette that ranges from red to black: red plums, cherries, strawberries, and raspberries to blueberries, blackberries, dark plums, and black cherries.
You'll always find a note of black cherry; it's the marker for Long Meadow Ranch.
2. "No Heat" : Sadly, we have come to be conditioned to expect a hot throat after enjoying a rich, fruitful nose; never with Long Meadow Ranch. With our wine you can enjoy a Bordeaux-like sensibility with moderate alcohol - but it is California fruit all the way.
You don't have to steel yourself for the heat; just relax and enjoy when tasting an LMR Cabernet.
3. Mouth feel : The LMR cab has a soft seductive feel when it enters your mouth. Makes you ponder whether it has a firm structure (it does). This is a characteristic of mountain fruit; a slightly higher pH that creates a smooth silky entry. It is one of the reasons we chose the vineyard site
4. Tannin : On the first taste you wonder where the tannins are. But, when you think about it the tannins are present on your tongue, cheeks, and lips. There is plenty of tannin to allow proper bottle development and a long life. The trick is that the tannins are well-integrated and balanced.
When a wine is perceived as tannic, it is generally because it is out of balance. Too much on the tongue or on the cheeks and the brain screams tannin even though the absolute level may be low. We build our wines to be balanced with all of the tannins creating a uniform feeling in the mouth. So, with a silky entry and carefully-crafted tannin balance, we have created a wine that is drinkable now, but has the underlying strength to gain refinement and beauty with age.
5. Long finish : Almost every taster comments on the long finish of LMR wines if they have time to linger over the experience (hard to do in a sniff-spit contest!). One respected wine merchant wrote to us saying he could "still taste LMR in Oakville" (which is five miles from the winery) after one tasting at the ranch.
While finish is a difficult concept to explore scientifically, we think our wines' long finish derives from our methods. No herbicide, no pesticide, no sulfites at crush, and chemical-free winery cleaning methods all allow us to put just the essence of the vineyard in the bottle with nothing else coming along for the ride. The palate experiences a purity of flavor and taste that can linger and linger without anything to mask it."