Holman Ranch: Carmel Valley’s whole package

November 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Earlier this year, during a beautiful stretch of Spring weather, The Lady (Tw) and I had the distinct pleasure of taking in a media stay at Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery (WLFBTwYTP). Set amongst the emerald hills of Carmel Valley, the ranch has a history in the valley since 1928, when it was founded by Gordon Armsby as a very exclusive resort for much of Hollywood’s elite. Skip forward quite a ways when current owners Thomas and Jarman Lowder purchased the ranch in 2006 with an eye for not only restoring all of its original majesty, but also greatly expanding the now many amenities and products produced by Holman Ranch.

The views at Holman Ranch

Now virtually finished with their extensive renovations and new capital projects, the 400 acre ranch is bursting with constant activity.  Their daughter Hunter manages the numerous weddings and corporate events that take place at the beautiful and historic La Casa Escondida stone hacienda (80 weddings alone, last year).  Horses are stabled and trained down below by the lake and her husband Nick manages the winery, vineyards, and olive orchards and oil production.  The stunning historic architecture (including the very first pool in Carmel Valley) are only outmatched by the tremendous views of the untouched hills and mountains that make up the south side of Carmel Valley. Check out the photos on the Vinopanion FB page for more images than I can show here.

Holman Ranch tasting room in Carmel Valley Village, CA.

It is, of course, the winery and tasting rooms for which I was most excited. 😉  While the Lady covered her favorite aspects of our stay earlier this year, I am more focused on the wines and winery for this #Vinopanion post.  We started off our day at their beautiful, neo-rustic tasting room, right in “downtown” Carmel Valley Village.  Here we tried most of the wines that I have listed below, with the 2012 Estate Pinot Gris and 2012 Kelly’s Press Pinot Noir being two favorites, similar in high quality to the other Holman Ranch wines that I’d tasted in the past. Their pinots tend to show good balance between fruit, tanning, acidity, and savory flavors, despite being on the bolder side of things for that varietal.  Each one also shows good singular characteristics, that I’m now able to see consistently across vintages for each label: aka terroir in these younger vines and winery.

Holman Ranch's 100% cave winery.

Once we got to the winery, I was not surprised to find such vinous success once I saw the operation and met their Consulting Head Winemaker, Greg Vita.  Greg has a long and very successful career, stretching to two other Vinopanion favs, legendary Spring Mountain Vineyard and local Carmel Valley major fav, Galante Vineyards. He is assisted in this boutique operation by Assistant Winemaker Emily Hunt and Vineyard Manager Alberto Gonzalez.  Together, they produce ~3500 cases of all estate wines, from 21 acres of vineyards…and they do *all* of this in a cave winery!  The entire operation, from pressing, to fermentation, to racking, to cellaring barrels, all take place in a purpose-built cave and concrete pad, right into the mountainside in their ranch nook of Carmel Valley.  With all of the winemaking underground, they are significant savings accomplished, both environmental and financial.  With such a tight quartered and efficient operation, I’d say they are bonus increases in wine quality as well, as evidenced by the barrel tasting that we had of some of  2013’s.

The Rose Patio in the gorgeous Las Casa Escondida historic stone hacienda.

We finished the day with a tour of the property, led by Tom Lowder, himself, and dinner with the family in their Carriage House.  Taking our own tour while sipping the absolutely delicious  Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown Blushing Bride Rosé of Pinot Noir 2012, the Lady and I were a bit overcome with the overall beauty of Holman Ranch.  It is truly a jewel in Carmel Valley for a wine club visit, or an event to remember.  Cheers!

Wines and photos from our media stay at Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery (WL, FB, Tw, YT, P):


Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown Pinot Gris 2012

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown .5o Brix Pinot Gris 2013

 Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown Blushing Bride Rosé of Pinot Noir 2012

Color: Gorgeous light coral.

Nose: Bright and crisp blood orange and strawberry notes here.

Palate: Very good acidity here with citrus, a little roundness as well, then a very juicy red fruit medley. Crisp and juicy, with light garrigue in finish. Very good.

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown Kelly’s Press Pinot Noir 2012

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown Sweet Love Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, the West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for WineLog.net and Le Wine Buff for Bordeaux.com (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include wine...like virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. View Ward's WineLog and check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter and Like Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at WineLog.net". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

2 Responses to “Holman Ranch: Carmel Valley’s whole package”

  1. Claire says:

    We’re happy to hear Greg is continuing to make great wines and has settled in such a beautiful part of California!

    Spring Mountain Vineyard

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