Jamieson Ranch: Cowboy labels, small horses and heart

doubleJAMIESON RANCH VINEYARDS is the southernmost winery in Napa Valley and produces a number of labels, but by far the most lauded is the yummy Double Lariat Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon reviewed below. The winery has undergone several sales and name changes but has settled into a nice rhythm now that wine industry veteran Bill Leigon became president in 2013, and then owner in 2015. Leigon, former president of Hahn Estates and manager of J. Lohr, has a heart for autistic kids and adults with memory problems, and keeps miniature horses on the property to act as therapy animals. He takes them to schools, hospitals and rehab facilities. There are three of them, and one might even nudge you in the tasting room.

Jamieson Ranch labels include Light Horse, Whiplash, Reata, Silver Spur, Double Lariat and Sweet Jane. The winery is on California Highway 12 north of American Canyon in southern Napa Valley. Here’s a sampling.

Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014, $55: Wow. The taste. The price. The structure. This one will give your taste buds something to remember: smooth tannins, lush fruit, perfectly infused oak, sturdy acidity. It’s an essence of cassis, dark cherry, blackberry and brown spices. It’s accessible, elegant.LightHorse

Light Horse Pinot Noir California 2013, $14.99: This deep garnet beauty that honors the miniature horses on the ranch is earthy, packed with ripe cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit with notes of brown spice and white pepper. Great buy! A portion of the proceeds from sales of this brand goes to Jamieson Ranch’s Light Horse Foundation to enrich the lives of people with autism.

Whiplash Malbec California 2014, $14.99: You don’t see many Malbec straight varietals outside of Argentina, but this is a nice one: structured, lots of flavor. It honors the sculpture on the property of the stallion known as Whiplash. The well-built wine offers flavors of black cherry and ripe fig with supple tannins. It’s so well strung it tastes great days after you open the bottle.

Whiplash Red Wine California 2013, $14.99: This accessible blend offers notes of dark berries, cherry, plum, savory bell pepper. It also has the tannins, firm acidity and fruit to taste fresh days after you open it.

Light Horse Chardonnay California 2014, $14.99: For an everyday drinking wine that probably costs less than the standard markup, this Chard is a gem. It features tones of apple, pear, apricot and white stone fruits.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.