Jamieson Ranch: Napa Valley’s gateway winery

As you travel north and enter Napa Valley, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards sits at the gateway. It’s the winery further south than any other in Napa. Their estate is composed of more than 300 acres. From those vines and other fruit, they craft a portfolio of wines under several sub-labels but all part of the overall Jamieson Ranch umbrella. Considering their Napa Valley location and the quality of their general portfolio, there is a lot to like here for the money.

Even their flagship red, Double Lariat Cabernet, is a bargain compared to wines of similar quality from many of their neighbors. Here’s a look at four current releases that I recommend. It’s worth noting that a portion of the profits from the wines under the Light Horse label benefit the Light Horse Foundation. This organization was founded by the winery to help support at risk people, in particular those with autism.

Jamieson Ranch Light Horse Pinot Noir ($15)

The fruit for this widely available Pinot Noir was sourced throughout California. A bevy of red fruit aromas including wild strawberry and red raspberry are evident on the nose along with bits of vanilla bean. Oodles of red fruit continue through the palate along with copious spice notes. Minerals, dried red fruit and a dusting of cocoa are all present on the solid finish. This will pair with a wide array of foods.

Jamieson Ranch 2014 Light Horse Chardonnay ($15)

This wine was produced from Chardonnay picked from various regions throughout California. Bright, fresh orchard fruit aromas fill the nose of this Chardonnay. Bartlett pear, Golden Delicious apple and hints of lemon zest are present throughout the palate of this wine along with nutmeg and clove spices. This offering has a crisp, clean finish with zippy acidity and a tiny bit of creaminess.

Jamieson Ranch 2015 Whiplash Malbec ($15)

Fruit for this wine was sourced in many California regions. Hints of blueberry lead the way, followed by a near avalanche of dark plum aromas. Dates, mission fig, black cherry and baking spices dominate the full flavored palate. Continued sweet dark fruit, black pepper and a touch of espresso dot the finish. This Malbec will pair best with full-favored foods.

Jamieson Ranch 2014 Double Lariat Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($55)

In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (87%), some Merlot (7%), Petit Verdot (4%) and Mixed Blacks (2%) were blended in. Aging took place over 16 months in entirely French oak. A really good Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley often has triple-digit price tags, so this offering from Jamieson Ranch is a very good value in addition to being quite delicious. It drinks well now and has the structure to age well for a decade. Blackberry fruit, toast and savory herbs are present on the nose. The layered and firm palate shows of black raspberry, chicory, cherry and a dollop of spices. Blackberry, peppercorn and dusty dark chocolate notes mark the finish.

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