If you were on this trip with me you know that I could not wait to tour Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. This winery is steeped in history as the maker of the Cabernet Sauvignon that beat Bordeaux’s First Growths in the historic Paris Tasting of 1976. As we drove into Stag’s Leap District you could see how this was different than everywhere else we had been so far. One step onto the property of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and there was no question why their wine is so unique.
The winery was surrounded by volcanic rock and steep, rocky slopes with small beautiful vineyards between. Walking out to the mountain carved caves there is a wall of handprints of all the winemakers and viticulturists who had “lent a hand” at the winery.
The caves are “green tunnels,” no air conditioning or humidifiers, only the cool breezes that whip through the tunnels. They believe the air your wines are barrel aged in is an important component to the finished product and use the same air purifiers NASA uses on space shuttles.
In the heart of the cave sat a pendulum swaying with the earth’s rotation. As you walk out of the caves you see Fay’s Vineyard, where we sampled some grapes from the 2010 vintage right off the vine.
Ana, our tour guide, poured their three Estate bottled Cabernets in the tasting room. First we had 2006 Fay’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which was rich and opulent. We then sampled the 2005 SLV Cabernet, made with grapes from their original vineyard before acquiring Fay.
In only special years, like 2006, superior barrels of Fay and SLV are blended to make Cask 23. This is their best of the best and the flavor was intense, long lasting, and unique to the terroir of Stag’s Leap District. After sampling these wines, I could see that they exceeded their reputation for one of the finest of Napa Valley.