I was thrilled to attend the grand opening and release party of Lester Estate Wines recently when they showcased their Pinot Noir, Rosé of Syrah and Chardonnay that day. I was impressed with all of them, but chose their 2016 Chardonnay ($45) to highlight here as it’s truly spectacular.
John Benedetti is the winemaker for the estate Chardonnay, which has a delicate nose of jasmine and white peach—along with a mélange of apricot, kiwi and lemon curd. All of these delicious flavors come together in a lush, mouth-coating richness, resulting in a lingering complex finish.
Lester Estate family members Lori and Steve Johnson both work extremely hard to showcase their wines—with Steve acting as “brand ambassador.” Well-known local viticulturalist Prudy Foxx oversees the vineyards and Keiki McKay takes care of marketing.
Lester Family Vineyards is known far and wide for growing premium grapes—always in demand by local wineries. Nestled in a bucolic setting on Pleasant Valley Road in Aptos, the Lesters’ Deer Park Ranch is a stunning place to visit. The late Dan Lester and his wife Patty Lester envisioned how wonderful it would be to grow grapes and make the best wine possible—and their dream is now fulfilled. As well as Chardonnay, Lester Ranch also produces excellent Pinot Noir and a bright and beautiful Rosé of Syrah—all available by allocation due to limited quantities.
The Lester family’s release party was a splendid event, with tasting room manager Frank Cates overseeing the day’s happenings. A healthy buffet was served by Lia Adams Events, and accomplished local musician Ken Constable played guitar.
The icing on the cake is that the estate will now be open at certain times for private and semi-private tastings. Up to 10 guests will enjoy a seated tasting featuring a five-wine flight ($25 per person)—the next dates being Nov. 10 and Dec. 8 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. Check their website for some possible events around the holidays. Their wines are stunning—and just perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
Lester Estate Wines, 2010 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos, 728-3793 or contact them by email at [email protected] to schedule a reservation.