I first need to warn you about the view. It slaps you in the face as soon as you turn past the corrugated tin Laujor Sign and head down the hill to the tasting room. It is. Be careful to focus on the road and not Konocti and the sweep of mountaintops across the horizon as you drive into the parking lot. Vines surround the tasting room, but don’t worry; going inside won’t ruin the view. Pull open the glass doors and step up to the tasting counter. A massive picture window runs the length of the back wall so that with every sip of wine you can enjoy the exquisite beauty of Lake County.
Depending on when you wander in, you may get David Lucido, one of the owners to pour for you. And if you do, you’ll be sure to have an enjoyable time. He’ll pour you a taste, then share a few good stories. David and his wife Cheryl purchased a fourteen-acre plot of land in 2003. After having worked in the mortgage and title business for years, Cheryl went back to school to learn how to make wine. Then they opened Laujor and settled into running their winery. “But we didn’t know anything,” David told me. “We had good ideas, but no experience.” Not long after they opened, Steve, the owner of what was then Red Hills Vineyard, came over for a visit. “You don’t know what you’re doing, mate,” Steve told David when he showed up. “I’m going to come over here with a six-pack of beer, and we’re going to spend a day in your vineyard. I’m going to show you everything you’re doing wrong.” So they spent a day drinking beer and slashing up David’s vines.
I don’t know if that visit helped or not, but David and Cheryl have created wonderful wine in the several years since. I’ve heard it said that if you can’t make a Sauvignon Blanc in Lake County, you might want to re-consider winemaking. That certainly isn’t the case here. Laujor’s 2017 Sauvignon Blanc-Musque isn’t just good, it’s spectacular. It’s bright and crisp, reminiscent of blue water and white sand. The wine sits in the glass yellow-white like a small ray of sunshine. With my first sip, I was transported to tropical places. I immediately detected notes of starfruit and mango in the bouquet. Yet the wine does not have high sugar. Instead, it hints at it, like a suggestion of sunny, palm-shaded days. And the flavor lingers, kindly reminiscent of a cool sunset. It’s a beautiful treat and a welcome wine for the last warm days of fall.
If reds are more your thing, I recommend David Lucido’s favorite: the Petite Sirah. This wine has profound complexity that demands your attention. “Hello there!” the bouquet shouts, bringing heavy notes of spice and hints of oak at the beginning of the taste. Then the fruits move across the palate, dark and rich. I tasted plum and all the right things about prune, along with hints of other dark fruits. The finish lingers, bringing hints of leather and pepper. It’s the kind of wine that hangs around for a bit, and says, “Thanks for drinking me. Try another sip.” And each sip doesn’t disappoint. It’s easy to watch a glass disappear taste by taste with this lovely wine. This wine would easily sell in other places at above $50 per bottle, but here in Lake County, it is a steal at $36.
I highly recommend Laujor. When you go, take some time to sit back on the patio with a bottle of wine and soak in the beauty of Lake County. It’s not the kind of place to rush through. And if you love it so much you just can’t leave, you can crash for a night at the Airbnb they have upstairs from the tasting room. It’s the kind of place that lives up to its reputation. With 100% five star reviews, you know you can’t go wrong. You can take a look for yourself here.
The best way to get to Laujor is to head up Red Hills Road from Highway 29 at Kit’s Corner. It’s less than two miles up the road, and well worth the drive.
You can learn more about Laujor Estate Winery at their website: laujorestate.com.
And if you want their address, it’s here:
8664 Seigler Springs Rd.
Kelseyville, CA 95451