Friday, June 8, 2007

Castle among the vines

Just 12 miles north of Sonoma California stands a castle among the grapes, which began as a private residence and is now a valley landmark. When its construction began in 1989, it was to be home to Steve Ledson and his family. However as time passed, the building was being erected among the 17 acres of newly planted Merlot. As the “castle”, which it’s now known, was nearing completion, they realized that they had something very special, changed the game plan and as they say, the rest is history. The Ledson Castle is the centerpiece of the Ledson Winery & Vineyard and home to their tasting bars, private event rooms, bridal suites, fountains and pools, gourmet marketplace and gift boutique, picnic areas, and a second floor veranda with a breath taking view of Moon Mountain.

One of the truly unique aspects of Ledson is their wine selection. Not only do they have great wines available on site for purchase but the wines are available as well through their 6 different types of wine clubs. The number of wines they offer can be quite overwhelming. At last count they offer 79 different wines under the Ledson label, which is by far one of the largest varieties available in Northern California. They offer traditional varietals such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Petite Verdot, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as lesser known Italian Varietals and Rhone Varietals like Sangiovese, Barbera, and Grenache. Ledson also offers several red blends, known as a meritage, with names like La Montagna, Bellisimo and Legend. Last, but not least, they also offer dessert wines like white zinfandel, orange muscat and riesling.

While all of the wine maybe more than one could handle in a single visit to the castle, maybe a stop in the gourmet marketplace and gift boutique would help soften the palate and satisfy the appetite while enjoying your wine tasting tour on route 12. Ledson's marketplace is filled with authentic and delicious food that is ready-to-consumer for a picnic under their majestic oak tress as it is for a high-end corporate catered dinner. Handmade salads, sandwiches and assorted other quick bites are perfect for an afternoon in the shade while those who wish to have a private event there would find and outstanding, and memorable, meal prepared by the head chef using local ingredients as well as Ledson's own spices and sauces.

The other truly unique thing about Ledson is the number of weddings they have on the property each year. As many as 100 couples tie the knot at the castle. Including this grandeur castle amongst the beautiful vineyard, a couple would be hard pressed to find a more romantic location in Northern California. One of the ultra niceties is the bride and groom's suites at the top of the main sweeping staircase. The brides’ suite is delicately appointed from the chandelier to the private whirlpool tub while the grooms’ suite has more of a masculine feel including wood paneled walls and a carved bar. These two rooms show off designer Steve Ledson's forward thinking vision of what a wedding friendly location should be.

The Ledson Winery & Vineyard is a Sonoma Valley must stop. So plan to spend some time when you travel there because it will take a while to digest all of the expert sommelier's knowledge, several wine samples, your gourmet lunch and the unforgettable property.

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