90 Points, The Wine Advocate
“The serious wines start with the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and a cross-county blend. Deep, dense purple-colored, with notes of creosote, earth, forest floor and plenty of cassis fruit, this wine is rich, medium-bodied, and ideal for drinking over the next 10-15 years.” - Robert Parker
Cabernet Sauvignon is synonymous with Napa Valley and has always been a mainstay in the winemaking program at Stags’ Leap Winery. Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a combination of estate fruit and grapes from select Napa Valley growers with a focus on sourcing from the valley floor. Winemaker Christophe Paubert selects fruit that is similar in expression to the grapes from the Stags’ Leap estate, avoiding fruit from areas he considers to be too warm and instead sourcing grapes from the southern part of Napa Valley, where the climate is cooler. This strategic sourcing ensures the focus and character for which Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignons are known.
Despite drought conditions, the 2014 vintage proved to be ideal, with excellent quality reminiscent of 2012 and 2013. The winter was one of the driest on record in California, but substantial rains in early spring were timely and set up the vines for a strong start. Summer temperatures were milder than expected with no extremes, and after early bud break and verasion, harvest was unusually early in 2014. Despite this, the overall dry season was ideal for producing a fresh Cabernet Sauvignon of wonderful quality.
The first several weeks of a wine’s life are crucial. While the handpicked grapes for this wine were undergoing fermentation and maceration, Christophe and his team tasted and tested each lot daily to determine the pump overs regime, how much air the wine needed, and the best temperature to optimize maceration and extraction. 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 more room to express itself. The wine aged for 20 months prior to bottling.