Long on fruit, this is a coherent, focused and bright Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is a fresh, juicy wine with well-delineated blueberry and blackberry flavors buoyed by fresh herbs and a touch of spice. The oak is seamlessly integrated, showcasing rather than masking the fruit, and the tannins are reactive without being aggressive. Long on fruit, this is a coherent, focused and bright Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
For his Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Winemaker Christophe Paubert searches out fruit that is similar in expression to the grapes from the Stags’ Leap estate, which serves as the wine’s backbone. He avoids mountain fruit and fruit from areas he considers to be too warm, instead sourcing grapes from the southern part of Napa Valley where the climate is cooler. This sourcing ensures the focus and character for which Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignons are known.
The 2009 growing season in Napa Valley was notable for its lack of significant weather events. A dry winter gave way to rains in early spring, and temperate weather at the time of bud break brought little in the way of frost damage. Flowering and fruit set were facilitated by dry weather in late spring, and a relatively moderate summer gave the fruit ample time to ripen slowly to its full potential. There was a brief rain event in early/mid-October, but by that time the vast majority of the grapes were safely in the winery.
The first several weeks of a wine’s life are crucial, and while the handpicked grapes for this wine were undergoing fermentation and maceration, Christophe and his team tasted and tested each lot of Cabernet Sauvignon daily to determine the pump overs and precisely how much oxygen to allow into the closed-top tanks and wine. After pressing off the skins 37% of the wine went into new French oak barrels while the remainder went to seasoned French oak; this combination preserves freshness and gives the fruit, in Christophe’s words, “more room to express itself.” The wine aged for 20 months prior to bottling