Langtry Estate & Vineyards
Kathy and Terry Sullivan
Summary: With a wine history dating back to 1888, a connection to the actress Lillie Langtry and quality wines, Langtry Estate & Vineyards is a winery that wine enthusiasts will want to visit and experience. Plan in advance and enjoy lunch in the vineyard.
Langtry Estate & Vineyards has a long history. The name Langtry dates back to the 19th century. Lillie Langtry, a British actress, born on the island of Jersey off the Normandy coast, purchased land in Lake County, California. She arrived in California and had Syrah planted in 1888. One of the original vines remains in the vineyard. It is one of the oldest vines in California. Although the vine was uncared for during several decades, it is now being nursed back to health. Lillie Langtry used the vineyards and winery to make Claret. She owned the winery until she sold it in 1906. Several people owned the property from 1912 to the 1960’s. One owner was Foley Farms. They raised polled Hereford Cattle on the property during the 1940’s & 1950’s. In 1963, the Malulani Investments purchased the property and promoted producing high quality wines.
Langtry Estate & Vineyards is the location of the Guenoc Valley AVA, which was approved in 1981. The Langtry vineyards were the first vineyards to be designated as its own AVA. The vast majority of the vineyards are in Lake County with a tip reaching into Napa Valley. Today the Langtry Estate consists of 34 square miles of property equivalent to 22,000 acres and has 500 acres of vines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Scotty Allen gave us a tour of the winery and the vineyards. He talked of the wildlife and the respect the staff has for wildlife on the property. While at one of the higher elevations, he held a whip-poor-will that was injured and nursed back to health. He released the bird and it took flight over the vineyards.
Tasting Room and Winery
The tasting room and barrel rooms are located in a one-story wood sided building. The building blends in well with the natural habitat that surrounds it. The tasting room is elegant with dark wood finishing and paintings. A viewing window gives visitors a dramatic look at the large barrel room where many barrels are aging wines. The winery also has many oak tanks providing fascinating views of the area. The winery produces two lines of wines that total 250,000 cases. The Guenoc series are large production wines. The Langtry series are handcrafted wines. We tasted wines from both series on the day of our visit.
Sauvignon Blanc 2008 was produced from grapes harvested in Lillie Vineyard. The aroma was very fruity with nuances of tropical fruit. The taste was also of tropical fruit. The finish was crisp and fruity. Chardonnay 2007 (Guenoc Lake County) was a light yellow. This wine was produced in stainless steel tanks. The fruity taste included nuances of apple, pear and banana. The finish was crisp and fruity. Viognier 2007 (Guenoc) was very floral with notes of stone fruit. The smooth taste had notes of peaches and nectarines. The crisp finish was fruity.
Guenoc Petite Sirah 2006 was a dark purple. The aroma and taste were of dark fruit and spice. The finish offered a combination of tannins, fruit and spice. Langtry Petite Sirah 2005 was dark purple. The aroma offered notes of dark fruit and cinnamon. The taste was of dark fruit. There were tannins and fruit notes on the finish. Guenoc Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 was a transparent dark purple color. The aroma was of black fruit. The taste was of black fruit while the finish had bold tannins. Langtry Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 had a dark fruit aroma with a taste of blackberries. The wine finished with blackberry notes and bold tannins.
Visitors may wish to pack a lunch, purchase a bottle of Langtry wine, journey into the Guenoc Valley of Lake County and enjoy the beauty that nature provides.
Langtry Estate & Vineyards
21000 Butts Canyon Road
Middletown, CA 95461
GPS: N38º 44.107’ W122º 31.652’
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