Lions Run was founded by Napa resident Sandy Lawrence with her first vintage released in 2001. Lion’s Run produces a single vineyard single wine each year – a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from her 2 acre vineyard located in the hills (side of Mt. George) just east of the city of Napa. The vineyard is certified organic and managed biodynamically. Sandy has applied for the Biodynamic certification (a 3+ year process). The vineyard was planted in 1995 and Gary Galleron has been the winemaker for every vintage.
Sandy is originally from Florida and owned and was President of an International events and conference planning company (International Investment Conferences, Inc.). During her business trips to the Bay Area she would visit Napa and soon fell in love with the area. After dividing her time between Napa and Miami (her company headquarters) she sold the company in 2005.
The tasting room was in the historic Williams-Kyser Building (now closed) and all appointments to taste the wine are by appointment only.
Sandy founded Ubuntu Restaurant in 2007. This was Napa’s only Michelin star vegetarian restaurant. The organic gardens that would supply much of the produce for the restaurant were located adjacent to the vineyard for Lion’s Run. At the time, Ubuntu included a yoga studio upstairs. Sandy would often have friends over for yoga sessions and yoga workshops. During these sessions people would mention an interest in having good food along with their yoga workout. This was the impetus for combining the restaurant with the yoga studio. The city of Napa lost a nice establishment when this closed.
You may be able to try a vertical of vintages and some older vintages are typically available for purchase. All the vintages we tasted have noticeable excellent acidity balance. The acidity in these wines is natural…from the vineyard. Winemaker Gary Galleron employs the “less is more approach” when it comes to making wines, taking more of a minimalist approach in the actual winemaking but being very hands on in the vineyard. As a result all the wines we tasted are very food friendly. With such a small vineyard, production usually runs merely several hundred cases annually.
The 2004 vintage has held its fruit surprisingly well and show bright aromatic aromas on the bouquet. Black cherry and black currant show with chocolate and vanilla as the wine opens. This wine like all the vintages we tasted has lively acidity. The tannins are rounded and well integrated into the finish which is smooth and long. As the wine opens additional seductive aromas of brown chocolate reveal themselves.
The 2005 shows just a hint of an herbal note on the bouquet with both red and dark fruit interwoven with delicate aromas of mocha. Cherry and currant show on the palate – this is a balanced elegant wine. The finish is slightly bigger than the 2004.
The bouquet on the 2006 rich black fruit aromas including cherry. Of the three wines this bouquet shows the most fruit. The palate is focused and balanced with a thread of spices running from mid palate to the finish and like the bouquet reveals rich fruit flavors including plum and cherry. Again the tannins complement this food wine rather than over power it.
NOTE: this review has been identified as needing a major update. Probably no longer making wine – we will archive this review in the next year or two.
For more information visit: www.lionsrun.com