Random Musings

A Visit to Limerick Lane

Limerick Lane Winery is in the Russian River Valley just south of the town of Healdsburg.The Del Fava family planted the oldest currently producing vineyard at Limerick Lane in 1910, a field blend consisting mostly of Zinfandel. In 1977, the Del Favas sold their thirty acre property to brothers Michael and Tom Collins. The two brothers began by selling some of the grapes to local wineries including De Loach, Ravenswood and Gary Farrell. In 1985, Limerick Lane Cellars was created. By 2009, Mike Collins was ready to sell and asked his neighbor Jake Bilbro if he would like to buy Limerick Lane and the Collins Vineyard. For two years Jake pitched nearly every bank in California before a local bank in Healdsburg finally agreed to give him the loan.Jake has spent the last seven years revitalizing Limerick Lane Vineyard and the Winery.

I was able to taste with Jake on a recent visit to Sonoma. We tried the ’16 Elie O, ’16 Hail Mary, ’16 Estate Zinfandel, ’15 Rocky Knoll Zinfandel, ’16 1910 Zinfandel and the ’16 1023. I didn’t take specific notes but the wines, across the board, are exceptionally well made and perfectly reflect the uniqueness of Limerick Lane Vineyard. The 1910 Zinfandel, in particular, is without question one of the best Zins I have had this year.

I often see Limerick Lane compared with Carlisle and Bedrock. The comparison, on some levels, makes sense. Both Carlisle and Bedrock make a Limerick Lane Zinfandel. Jake will soon be making Zins from Carlisle and Bedrock Vineyards. All three wineries are in the conversation for some of best Zin producers in the state. Where the comparison starts to fall apart though is when collectors compare pricing on the Limerick Lane Estate Zinfandel to the Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel or the Carlisle Sonoma County. The entry level Limerick Lane Zin at $42 is roughly twice the price of the entry level Zins from Bedrock and Carlisle but only the Limerick Lane is a Single Vineyard Designate.

All this being said I don’t want to get to hung up on pricing. At the end of they day everyone needs to decide for themselves what they want to pay for a bottle of wine.

The ’16 Estate Zinfandel was just released and Jake held firm on pricing at $42 a bottle. The release has closed but you should see this readily available at retail. You can also sign up for future releases via the mailing list. The wine is super and I will be a buyer. For my money this is a fair price on an outstanding Zinfandel from one of the top Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards in the state. On top of that it is really easy to support someone like Jake who is humble, thankful and always willing to pour a bottle for visitors to the winery.

I blogged about Limerick Lane Vineyard previously in Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.

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4 thoughts on “A Visit to Limerick Lane

  1. As always, an awesome report Tom! I agree that this LL zins are fantastic, especially the 1910 and Rocky Knoll. And I also agree that it’s not fair to compare the LL estate bottling to either the Bedrock OVZ or the Carlisle Sonoma….but I do think its apples/apples with the Bedrock Heitage and Carlisle Carlisle. That being said, I’ve unfortunately stopped purchasing from LL as the prices have escalated to a point where, for me, it’s not worth the additional tarrif compared to what I can get from some of the other top producers. Just like you said, everyone has their own thoughts on where it makes sense to spend their wine dollars…..but that’s just my $0.02 from here in the cheap seats :)

    And quick side note that LL actually has (and I think still does??) Produced wines from Bedrock Vineyard. I’ve had the 13 and still have a 14 in my cellar. Solid wine…but not in the same league as the 1910 or Rocky Knoll.

    Thanks again for the report buddy – really appreciate it!

  2. I believe Limerick Lane has a new wine maker, Chris Pettinger. I have followed him though his other ventures. If your looking for something new, his Gros Ventre label is terrific. He makes pinot and some really good whites.

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