Holman Ranch Vineyards | Wine, Weddings & More
Sometime in the 1940’s Clarence Holman purchased a 600 acre ranch located about 15 miles south-east of Monterey from financially troubled businessman Gordon Armsby. But the history of ranching in the area dates back to a time when the land was still part of Mexico. In the 1950’s the ranch became a kind of gentleman’s retreat and hosted celebrities like Clark Gable, Vincent Price, Joan Crawford and Marlon Brando. Clarence and his wife Vivian eventually passed away in 1962 and 1981 respectively. Vivian managed to keep the tradition alive but after her passing things stopped. For a while. In 1989 there was a rebirth spear headed by a lady named Dorothy McEwen. Dorothy began restoring the ranch to its former glory and had plans to develop a winery. But she passed away in 2005 before this could be accomplished. Finally, Thomas and Jarmen Lowder purchased the property in 2006 and set about a complete restoration and development of the winery. It took 3 years to complete the transformation. The ranch is now an award-winning venue for weddings, winning awards from Wedding Wire and Wedding Industry Experts. Currently there are about 21 acres under vine producing Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose of Pinot Noir. The Ranch also produces a small amount of olive oil from 100 olive trees.
Holman Ranch Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay, Carmel Valley
The 2011 Chardonnay starts out with intense acidity. If you like your wines soft and buttery this is not the wine for you. After some decanting the initial searing acidity gives way to a more structured crispness and the fruit starts to reveal itself. Both the nose and palate have notes of green apple, pear and nutty oak. The wine retails for $28 a bottle, and only 350 cases were made. Weekly Wine Journal rating: 87 points
Holman Ranch Estate Grown Olive Oil, Carmel Valley, California
I’m a big fan of olive oil and use it in at least one meal a day if not more. When my wine review sample arrived from Holman ranch, included in the package was a 375ml Port style bottle of olive oil. I’ve since used up all the oil inside, but since the bottle is so interesting, I’ve kept it, refilling it with olive oil from Costco! Instead of a screw cap, this bottle has a cork enclosure, with a cap on it which adds a very nice touch.
But how is the olive oil? It is fantastic! Use it in salads with balsamic vinegar, use it for dipping bread in. The flavors are unique. I read up on the production and the oil is actually a blend of six varieties of olives all estate grown. Even more interesting is that olive trees produce olives in an alternate bearing fashion. This means that every second year a harvestable crop happens. In the case of Holman ranch the 100 trees produce about 600 of these little bottles one year and only about 50 the next. The olive oil retails for $25 a bottle, and I would say it’s worth every penny.
Holman Ranch 2011 Pinot Noir, Heather’s Hill, Carmel Valley
This is a slightly austere wine. The nose and palate consist of bitter strawberry and red cherry with distinct earthy notes. I tasted this wine over a 24 hour period and it softened up somewhat over time and the fruit became a little riper. If you are a fan of Pinot Noir you’ll be more accustomed to this style of wine. The wine retails for $37 and 444 cases were produced. The vines for this wine are still relatively young, having been planted in 2008. It will be interesting to see how future vintages compare. Weekly Wine Journal rating: 87 points
*review samples provided by the winery