In a nutshell: A full bodied and voluptuous Californian Cabernet Sauvignon of impeccable pedigree.
The lowdown: Stag's Leap S.L.V. is a wine that occupies a small bit of wine history. It was back in 1976 at the famous Paris Wine Tasting widely known as the Judgment of Paris that the 1973 vintage of this wine won the competition controversially beating some of the best Clarets of the day. The Stag's Leap Vineyard (S.L.V) was first planted in 1970 and today extends to about 14 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon planted on well drained volcanic and alluvial soil in the heart of Napa's Stags Leap District. The 2014 was aged for 21 months in 90% new French oak and has a dense, deep ruby colour and rich aromas of crème de cassis, liquorice and a touch of florality. On the palate the rich blackcurrant fruit is augmented by tobacco and cedar and it's quite full bodied with ripe tannins and an elegant lengthy finish.
When to drink: Unashamedly opulent this is a wine just coming into it own and will be superb until the mid 2030s.
Notable as the Californian winery that won the Cabernet Sauvignon competition known as the Judgment of Paris, thus placing them ahead of the best Bordeaux had to offer, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars have since been considered as Napa Valley's 'First Growth' estate.
The winery itself is situated in Silverado in the heart of the Napa Valley north of San Francisco and their vineyards are in, what is known today as, the Stag's Leap District Appellation. Their most famous wine is 'Cask 23' which is made only select vintages and fetches quite eye watering prices which makes their 'First Growth' moniker quite appropriate.
The winery was founded by Warren Winiarski in 1972 after he had learned his trade under Robert Mondavi and success soon followed with the 1976 Paris tasting. In the intervening years ownership has passed to a joint venture between Chateau Ste Michelle and Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori.
The estate's winemaker since 2013 has been Marcus Notaro who, prior to moving to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, made a name for himself at Col Solare in washington State. Having been at Stag's Leap for several years Marcus understands the winemaking philosophy here very well and it was his ability to express both the terroir and varietal character of the grapes that makes him well suited to keeping Stag's Leap Wine Cellars at the forefront of Californian winemaking.