Kim and Todd Englehardt are dedicated to Rhone varieties at their Lion Ranch vineyard in San Martin, where they have two parcels: a two-acre site at the tasting room, which is all reds, and two-and-a-half acres of mixed whites and reds at their additional five-acre parcel down the road. They started out growing Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Picpoul Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier for whites, and Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache Noir, Mourvedre and Syrah for reds.
92 Points – Lion Ranch 2018 Five Lions Red (Santa Clara Valley)
Light pepper, lavender, crushed rocks and raspberry aromas make for a delicate yet complex nose on this blend of 51% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre, 8% Syrah, 5% Cinsault and 1% Counoise. The palate is light on its feet, as raspberry and boysenberry flavors join with cracked pepper and purple-flower flavors. It should pair well with a wide array of foods.
93 Points – Lion Ranch 2019 Cuvée Blanc White (Santa Clara Valley)
This expertly styled blend of 45% Picpoul Blanc, 42% Grenache Blanc and 13% Roussanne begins with a lovely floral nose that is cut by river-stone and slight pear aromas. The palate is a delicious union of crunchy white-rock flavors and texture, with hints of dried apple in the background. – Matt Kettmann
92 Points – Lion Ranch 2018 Picpoul Blanc (Santa Clara Valley)
Clean lines of crisp yellow pear and daffodil meet with an alkaline minerality on the nose of this bottling of an increasing popular grape, which holds acid even in warm conditions. The palate is quite grippy, showing chalk as well as fresh citrus-spray and sliced melon flavors. – Matt Kettmann