Our 2016 Audentia showcases the distinctive personality of our estate vineyard, crafting a wine of immense concentration, power and complexity. Intense, multilayered, rich and indulgent, with incredible depth of color and balance. On the nose and palate there are lush dark berry flavors. Blackberry and blueberry compote, black cherry and strawberry liquor notes are present alongside floral notes of violet, hibiscus leaf, star anise, clove, ginger and candied orange peel, giving the perception of mulled wine spice – an influence from the well-integrated subtle oak ageing. The wine is dark, rich, round and mouth-pleasing with well-integrated enveloping fine-grained tannins leading to a dark chocolate, cocoa savory finish with mouthwatering acidity and a lifted fresh subtle mint element. This wine is unctuous, showcasing the iconic power and longevity that have become synonymous with Stags’ Leap estate wines. Drinking beautifully now and will continue to age for the next 25+ years, if you can keep your hands off it.
The marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot in this extraordinary estate wine highlights the rich heritage of the property, and natural lineage of the Estate, as well as the balance of power and finesse between each of these varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon has a longstanding history as the Stags Leap District’s signature varietal, and the district’s unique location, where erosion from the palisades has become the source of its volcanic soils, creating a distinctive characteristic, now synonymous with the modern reputation for Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignons. Cabernet lots were hand-selected from a singular expanse of our estate vineyards that features thin, rocky soils in its upper reaches, giving way to finer-grained loamy soils at its floor.
The Petite Sirah was sourced exclusively from block 9, long known as one of the winery’s highest-performing blocks that delivers each year with deep blue and red fruit we liken to Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Petit Verdot, known for its color, flavor intensity and tannin profile, is also sourced from our estate vines. The combination of these varietals results in a blend that’s both powerful and concentrated, balanced and elegant. Special care was made in preserving purity of fruit and selecting Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot that would strengthen without overpowering the Cabernet Sauvignon.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, right around Labor Day, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended mild season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Considered a perfect harvest and a winemaker’s dream vintage, conditions were perfect for producing Cabernet and Petite Sirah with beautiful fruit as well as tremendous concentration of flavors, highly saturated color, and layers of complexity.
Grapes for the blend are hand-picked in the vineyard and hand-sorted at the winery and fermented in a combination of small, closed tanks and 500-liter neutral oak barrels. Additionally, the lots undergo a long, (almost month-long), maceration period which adds color, tannin and complexity of flavors to the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.