Winemaker Christophe Paubert practices a meticulous, hands-on style of winemaking that emphasizes balance. The Stags’ Leap estate is about intense wines, yet soft tannins; balanced winemaking brings these qualities to the bottle.
From the hand-picked and hand-sorted fruit to the oak barrels aging in caves carved out of the solid rock of the mountain, Paubert’s methods are simple and traditional. His goal is to convey the essence of this world-class terroir from the grape to the glass, to create handcrafted wines that tell an authentic story of the land on which they are grown.
“I believe that wine should express the uniqueness of the land, and the Stags’ Leap wines have always showcased one of the most distinctive regions in the Napa Valley.”
The Draw of Stags Leap District Terroir
The topographical, geological, and climatic features of Stags Leap District make up the region’s reputation for Cabernet Sauvignon. Paying attention to this gift, understanding and working with its potential, lies at the heart of winemaking on this historic estate.
Christophe’s career has spanned a variety of roles in the wine industry, and his impressive background includes Chateau d’Yquem and projects in Chile, Spain, and Washington State. But it was the terroir of Stags’ Leap that drew him to California.
Christophe grew up just outside of Sauternes in Bordeaux, where his grandfather was a Cellar Master. He spent his childhood immersed in the culture of wine, and followed his love for wine and science to the Institut d’OEnologie in Bordeaux. After forays in wine sales, wine graduate school, and seven years retailing winemaking equipment, Christophe decided it was time to start making wine again.
"You Never Stop Learning"
While visiting some friends at Chateau d’Yquem, he was offered the job of Cellar Master. His position encompassed everything from guiding tours to making the wine. “I was very passionate about this job because Sauternes is part of my culture; it was an exceptional thing to touch this unique wine.” Projects in Chile, Spain, Bordeaux, and New Zealand followed his 4 year stint with Chateau d’Yquem. “You never stop learning. I have done every job there is to do at a winery from pruning to giving tours. Every single person has an important job, and my role is to connect everyone to the greater purpose.”
Experience Has Brought Wisdom
Today, Christophe’s winemaking philosophy is informed by the sum of his varied experiences: he makes wine the way he learned in France, to showcase the fruit and not the winemaker’s hand, but he applies a technical understanding of each and every step of the process.