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@LMR (the ranch blog)

Ted Hall
December 13, 2010 | Ted Hall

#5 in Top 100 Wines of 2010!

We have always tried to avoid touting our wine scores, but we're having fun with this one.  Wine Enthusiast Magazine has named our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon to the Top 100 Wines of 2010.  Not only that, we're #5 overall and the top domestic red wine.  We were the top-rated Cabernet Sauvignon in the fall buying guide (among many fine wines) and we were also designated "Editor's Choice."  Whew! 

Our philosophy has always been to let our wines speak for themselves.  Raters can be very fickle and we believe that our customers should enjoy our wines because they like the wines, as opposed to being told to like them by a high rating.  Our balanced, elegant, moderate-alcohol style has also been difficult for some comparative tasters to recognize - especially when a wine is evaluated in a flight of 8 wines where the other 7 have been made to be "gladiators in sniff-spit contests."  Usually the high-alcohol, highly extracted wines prevail because they attract more attention in the noisy "wine coliseum."

We believe that wine should be presented (and thought of) as food and that the appropriate wine tasting protocol should always include an appropriate food pairing.  After all, that is how the wine will likely be consumed.  (A very prominent wine critic mentioned at a meeting with Napa Valley winemakers last month that he never tasted wine with food.  Hmmm.  Most of us never consume wine without food. . .)

In any case, we are very pleased to have been chosen by the Wine Enthusiast for this honor.  Even better, we actually agree with the tasting notes.  We are starting to see a trend where wine (and food) critics are taking seriously the role a wine will play when it is poured, namely as part of a meal and paired with a particular food.  After all, caviar is probably not the pairing for a top cabernet any more than champagne is a proper pairing for a New York steak.  In that context a number (e.g., "96") cannot capture the whole picture.  It can, however, call attention to the intrinsically attractive qualities of the wine.

Maybe I am getting wiser in my old age.  We like getting a "96" and, even better, like being on the Top 100 list.  We really do appreciate having attention drawn to our wines.  After all, unless someone tries our wine they'll never know what it stands for.  

Many thanks to Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Ted Hall
December 7, 2010 | Ted Hall

Olive Harvest!

We began the 2010-11 olive harvest today. 

This vintage is our 15th commercial olive harvest at Long Meadow Ranch and we are very excited.  After the smallest harvest ever last year, we are now expecting our largest harvest in LMR history.  Of course, over 1000 of our trees were planted in the 1870s.  So, the record may have occurred during their storied past.

While the 2010 growing season was long and cool, we had excellent conditions at bloom in late May.  Olives need ample moisture to keep blossoms hydrated at the crucial moment of bloom in late May. This year we had a cool, moist spring without the sudden heat spikes and high winds that were so damaging last year. 

Our trees are laden with fruit and many of our orchards are also now reaching full maturity. Several of our orchards were planted by our son, Chris, during the summer of 1998 and the promise he helped create twelve long years ago is now finally coming to bear.  So, we have had great conditions coupled with maturing tree; hence, the record crop.

Over the years we have almost always started harvest before Thanksgiving.  So, we are about two weeks late.  We expect to be harvesting over the next three weeks (at least fifteen processing days in the frantoio).  If we're lucky we'll finish by Christmas, but the weather will be the key determinant.  While rain doesn't hurt the olives, we can't safely harvest in the rain. We can wait out the rain.  We just don't want high winds to blow the fruit to the ground.  We won't be surprised to be harvesting during the first week in January.

We tasted the first oil of the season a couple of hours ago (unlike wine we can experience immediate gratification).  The oil was clean, had beautiful aromas, and offered sharp pungency.  We're excited.  Stay tuned.