Wine Of The Week: Cliff Lede Roundabout Midnight
Classic rock-inspired wines grown in the heart of Napa Valley.
There are plenty of Napa tasting rooms that offer similar fare. You sidle up to a tasting bar, get poured a flight, and try and taste through a selection of Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays.
On the walls at Cliff Lede, you’ll find art by superstar songwriter Bernie Taupin (of Elton John fame). You’ll find blends that nod to famous songs from the classic rock canon. Even the vineyards (or “rock blocks”) nod to music history—”I can’t get no satisfaction” grows Merlot, while “Sultans of Swing” grows Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s even a white-striped crosswalk that leads you to, you guessed it, the “Abbey Road” vineyard.
Opened in 2002, the entire winery is a nod to music. Each release tips a hat to rock culture — music fans will have fun figuring out the references — while special releases often consist of a blend of two different vineyard blocks. Roundabout Midnight combines two vineyards (viticulture homages to “Roundabout” by Yes and “After Midnight” by Eric Clapton) in a moody, sultry red wine.
Made with a combination of two different plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s luxurious, ripe, and plush. Dark and brooding, with deep flavors of lilac and velvet and a vibrant minerality. $115
Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and seasoned spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Forbes.com, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.