Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley, was founded in 1989 when Steve Ledson bought property and planted 17 acres of Merlot. Ledson is the founder of a successful construction company, but his family roots are in California agriculture. He spent his youth working on the family’s Sonoma and Napa Valley dairy and orchard properties, and learned to enjoy wine made by neighboring winemakers. Ledson’s first commercial vintage was the 1994 Ledson Estate Merlot. Today the estate also grows grapes on 21 acres on Denmark Road in Sonoma, and on property in Mendocino County and Russian River Valley. Ledson produces some 70 wines annually from as many as 20 appellations. Besides making well-reviewed wines, Ledson Winery is known for the 16,000 square foot “castle” Steve Ledson built on the property. Designed to resemble the Norman gothic castles of northern France, it is a special events location for the winery.
Russian River Valley AVA is named for the river that meanders from Mendocino County in the north until it finally runs into the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. The AVA is cool thanks to its proximity to the northern California coast and the river, and grape growers must learn to deal with regular fog. Nevertheless in recent decades the AVA has become one of the best in the state, meaning that its wines often earn excellent reviews and have considerable cachet. The AVA status was awarded in 1983 and today the appellation has 15,000 vineyard acres. Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape though Pinot Noir has also been very successful in recent decades. Russian River Valley Pinot Noir are known for being rich, lush and filled with concentrated fruit and berry flavors. Russian River Pinot Noirs are today considered some of the best domestic Pinot Noirs.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.