September 21, 2017

St. Helena: Long Meadow Ranch; things to do + restaurant review


Wine Country

Long Meadow Ranch  738 Main St., (707) 963-4555 x161.  Tasting room; fee. 

The historic Logan Ives House here, a restored Gothic Revival farmhouse, doubles as a tasting room and general store that sells farm products.  Olive oil samplings are also available (they press their own olives here from 100-year-old-trees found nowhere else).
Logan Ives House at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
Logan Ives House at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

wine tasting inside Logan Ives House at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
wine tasting inside Logan Ives House at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

The solar-powered winery-making facility--which is 98% rammed earth over a steel frame--for this family-owned and -operated winery is up in the Mayacamas Mountains in Rutherford and open only by special tour.  And the ranch itself is spread over many areas--including Pt. Reyes and Boonville--and produces organic wines and olive oils, hormone-free chickens, and grass-fed cows.  A small vegetable garden and seasonal farm stand is on site here, and an outdoor Cafe serves a limited menu.
outdoor cafe at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
outdoor cafe at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

lettuce garden at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
lettuce garden at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

Farmstead restaurant ((707) 963-9181.  L-D daily; $$$.) operates within a repurposed barn and serves a farm-to-table menu of country food.  The menu is varied, but the Southern dishes are reputedly especially delicious.  Ingredients such as grass-fed beef, organic fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and local honey originate on Long Meadow Ranch.  The wine list features well-priced selections, including Long Meadow Ranch wines--which have no markup--and corkage is just $2.  On one weekend, Julia Roberts ate here on Saturday and David Beckham on Sunday.
interior of Farmstead restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
interior of Farmstead restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

 Special experiences include:

Chef's Table  This elegant communal dining experience begins with a glass of wine and a walk through the culinary garden to see what’s growing and will be on your plate.  Guests are seated at a shared tables with plenty of wine glasses, and then the parade of courses itemized on a chef-curated set menu start appearing.
Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

The chef uses the best of what is in season from the farm and ranch, and pairs courses with ranch wines.
chef chats during Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
chef chats during Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

At my lunch experience, proceedings began with an olive oil tasting that included a unique Prato Lungo (Italian for “long meadow”) and an organic extra virgin pressed from four types of olives.  Lunch courses included a flavor bomb of a tomato-tuna-olive ball that was paired with a nice 2016 Anderson Valley Rose of Pinot Noir.
tomato-tuna-olive ball at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
tomato-tuna-olive ball at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

Then came a refined caviar melt over toast served with a smooth 2016 Pinot Gris with a slightly tart finish--my favorite wine of the day.
caviar melt at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
caviar melt at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

This was followed by braised romano beans with a ricotta gnudi dumpling topped with crispy shallots and a 2015 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir with red strawberry on the nose.
ricotta dumpling at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
ricotta dumpling at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

Then it was a brilliantly colored dish of brined, thick-cut heritage pork with creamed corn, mustard seeds, and pluots, served with a robust, slightly tannic 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
pork chop at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
pork chop at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

Dessert was dramatic marinated berries with ice cream crumble in a liquid nitrogen fog, paired with a nice 2013 Napa Valley Merlot.
ice cream crumble at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
ice cream crumble at Chef's Table experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

This was an exceptional meal, but it was a disappointment that items were prepared in an adjacent room, not right in front of us. 



Mayacamas Estate Experience  For this tour, guests ride in a van up to the Mayacamas Estate mountain vineyards for a tour of the wine caves and a tasting of limited-production estate-grown wines.  Our tour began with a tasting of 2015 Rutherford Estate Sauvignon Blanc, which was the perfect selection for sipping while seated at tables in front of the winery featuring a lovely valley view.
view from vineyards at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
view from vineyards at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

wine tasting at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
wine tasting at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

All the wines we tasted were made from 100% of their varietal grapes and available only at the winery to tour participants and wine club members.  We moved inside the winery to sample more, including two olive oils, and for an excursion into the caves to see the barrels and the olive-crushing stone wheels.
entering the winery at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
entering the winery at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

We also enjoyed several art pieces, one of which was an original purple Andy Warhol cow.
Andy Warhol purple cow at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
Andy Warhol purple cow at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

A plank held housemade salamis, marinated olives, cheese, and almonds to enjoy with the wines:  a 2015 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Blanc; a 2013 Mayacamas Estate Sangiovese; a 2012 Mayacamas Estate Merlot grown from grapes on the hill here; an elegant 2013 Mayacamas Estate Cabernet Franc; and a 2013 E.J. Church Cabenert Sauvivon--the winery’s best.
wine tasting at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California
wine tasting at Mayacamas Estate experience at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California

Then it was back into the van for the ride back down to the farm.  



More things to do in St. Helena.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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