On a quick road trip in Napa Valley earlier in August for the Wine Bloggers Conference #WBC16, I felt I had to stop by and see with my own eyes one of the most iconic Californian wineries.
What is this wine whose 1973 vintage beat the French at the judgement of Paris?
Needless to say that the hospitality at SLWC is much better than what you’d find in many top Bordeaux estates. Although not having booked for the tasting, I was warmly welcome by friendly staff in a picturesque tasting room.
You couldn’t even get through the entrance gate without an appointment in most Bordeaux first-growth Chateaus!
But were the wines world-class?
Let’s find out with my tasting notes below (all bottle pics in slider):
2014 Arcadia Chardonnay:
Subtle elegant nose, yet buttery and oaky. Hints of lemon, and sweet spices. Powerful round palate with an oily texture, good acidity that provides a nearly-perfect balance on the muscular side of Chardonnay. Silky-soft oak tannins on the finish. Warm finish too. A powerful Chard yet displaying plenty of elegance, complexity and refinement. Should evolve positively and develop outstanding complexity over the next 10 to 15 years. 90/100 pts
2013 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon
Discrete nose for a Napa Cab, oriented on ripe dark-berry fruit side on things, and delicate oak aromas. Soft round tannins, granulous texture rounded up by plenty of silky oak tannins. Good balance, powerful and warm flavors, slightly bitter finish. Very good Cab, powerful yet displaying enjoyable elegance within the Napa style.
2013 Fay Cabernet Sauvignon
Powerful warm nose though it gives an impression of being restrained and introvert. Profound and dark notes of cocoa, coffee super-ripe cherry and sweet spices. Complex nose. The tannic structure is very dense, driven by a solid acidity that balances the power and ripeness well. Big granulous tannins rounded up by fine oak ones give the whole a tight texture. Very fruity, spicy and oaky flavors.
2013 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon
Special label for the 2013 vintage in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the judgement of Paris’ vintage (event in 1976 but the winners were 1973 vintage). Introvert nose, the wine is young and will need a few years to open up. But nice spicy notes of clove and nutmeg, some oak and a burnt rock minerality from the volcanic soils of the SLV vineyard already perceptible. Dense tannic structure with granulous yet silky tannins. Big body and warm loooong finish. Overall savory & spicy style.
2013 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon
Super dark red/purple color, can’t see through! The nose is actually very shy, so young and concentrated it doesn’t let much aroma get out of the wine at this stage just a few months after bottling. A few aromas of cassis, toasted hazelnut, clove. Insanely dense tannic structure, full of super-fine tannins. Great balance and tension, the wine holds superbly on the palate giving plenty of time to enjoy the depth and complexity. Very long smooth finish. Superb. Give it at least 5 years before freeing out the bottle!
Yes, indeed, the wines at SLWC are of world-class standards.
In reality, I knew that already!
As my ratings highlight, I was particularly impressed by the 2013 Cask 23. Just after release, this baby is already deep, fine and complex. Where will it go from there? Higher for sure!
It was great to see this part of the world that makes such famous wines. I have seen a few all around the globe, but never get bored with it, especially when I can share the moment with you loyal readers of Social Vignerons.
Big thanks to the friendly staff of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.
Wish I’ll be able to bring you more world-class wine estate visits and reviews soon, Invites welcome 😉
Don’t Miss the Wonderful Cellar Door Setup at SLWC in Video
It’s Happened on Twitter too for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar
— Social Vignerons (@SocialVignerons) August 27, 2016