Winery Road Trip: Cliff Lede's New Platinum Playlist Classic Rock Tasting

There are certain specific rules for drinking and listening, say, Johnny Cash with cheap beer (should prison water prove difficult to procure) and just about any wine with jazz. Unless you're opening a bottle of Cliff Lede, which is a classic rock-only leaning vineyard.

When it opened several years ago, Cliff Lede in Napa Valley's Yountville named its nearly 40 vineyard blocks (miniature county lines to distinguish different grape-growing plots on a vineyard) after classic rock songs. Is it gimmicky? Yes. But it also means you can have a lot of fun in the tasting room getting into legitimate conversations with fellow travelers about religion and prostitutes, as grape growing areas are dedicated to both. In other words, you can blame the winery when "You Can't Always Get What You Want" -- like say, spare the cash for the winery's new $75 "platinum playlist" group tasting. Good thing it doesn't matter. The winery's everyday tasting is the best ticket deal.

Cliff Lede's Rock Blocks
Cliff Lede's Rock Blocks
cliffledevineyards.com

Why? Well, the "platinum playlist" tasting involves a winery tour and a peak at the White Room, a private tasting room that's decorated with Beatles album covers and other such fancy items. (After a packed day of wine tasting, you won't remember it.) Your rock-reference overkill afternoon continues with a tasting of three wines -- sure, great wines -- from the "rock block" series, including a $90 2007 Imagine Rhapsody (after "Imagine" and "Bohemian Rhapsody") that Robert Parker blessed with 94 points. The wines are paired with small bites to eat, rock music, and you get a $10 iTunes gift card souvenir.

Great, if you happen to have $75 to burn and a couple of friends willing to sign up for the private group tour. If not, the regular $20 tasting will get you three tastes of the winery's more affordable line of wines, like the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (about $20) and the 2007 Claret (about $40).

It's a great deal that's even sweeter when you realize that the folks staying at the affiliated Poetry Inn, one of those Robb Report kind of swanky properties, are paying a bundle for that same killer Silverado Trail view. All the more reason to sip slowly, then visit the fantastic art gallery on the property at no extra charge.

Now, there is that small matter of that 400 mile drive from L.A. But if you're a musician, or happen to have a friend in a band you can put in your back seat, the whole thing counts as a tax write-off, right? Well, maybe you could invite your accountant.

Cliff Lede Vineyards: 1473 Yountville Cross Rd., Yountville. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bar tastings, $20 per person, private Platinum Playlist group tours, $75 (reservation required).


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