As we mentioned last week, we recently hiked up to Lake County for the Lake County Wine Adventure and had a blast. One of the places that I made sure we went to was Langtry Estate and Vineyards, the producer of Guenoc Wines. Guenoc Wines has been one of my favorite budget go-to producers for well over a decade. Honestly, without Guenoc, I probably wouldn’t have known that Lake County existed when I started buying their wine.
Over the years, I also became intrigued by the winery itself. It was started in the late 1800’s by Lillie Langtry, the famed British actress, who purchased the land sight unseen. In fact, Lillie’s portrait is still seen on the back label on the Quenoc line and maybe others. Lillie also helped propel Lake County into the largest grape producing region in pre-Prohibition California where a number of award-winning wines were produced from these grapes.
Unfortunately, the last 100 years was not kind to Lake County. When Prohibition hit, Lake County was devastated and has taken years to recover and we would argue probably still hasn’t fully recovered. Ironically, Lillie sold her estate to Carrie Nation, one of the biggest temperance crusaders and biggest backers of the Prohibition movement in the land. I can only imagine the destruction that was wrought on that beautiful estate.
The Guenoc 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from all over Lake County (which probably helps keep its price point low). We paid $5.00 for it at Safeway recently. While it’s not the most amazing Cabernet that I have had, it’s pretty good at 5 bucks and nicely accompanies hamburgers.
The Guenoc 2009 Cabernet is ruby turning garnet (a sign that you might want to drink this wine sooner than later), medium tannin, medium acidity and medium body. On the nose and palate, you get notes of blackberry, black cherry, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, clove and the slightest twinge of iron. Medium minus finish. I would recommend drinking this wine with food.