From the Robb Cellar: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2009 Cask 23 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Photo by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
    Photo by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)

    Serendipity played its part in the evolution of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. The first happy accident occurred in 1969, when founder Warren Winiarski met Nathan Fay, the first grower to plant Cabernet in what would later become the Stags Leap District. Winiarski was so impressed with Fay’s efforts that he bought a neighboring parcel; this land would become Stag’s Leap Vineyards, or S.L.V., which achieved renown in 1976, when the 1973 vintage was included in Steven Spurrier’s fabled Paris tasting. But the 1974 vintage brought an even greater stroke of luck for wine lovers: While sampling barrels of new wine, Winiarski and consultant André Tchelistcheff tasted one barrel (number 23) of such uncompromising quality that they determined to bottle it on its own, launching one of the region’s great reserve wines. Blended using the most expressive lots from S.L.V. and the Fay vineyard (Winiarski acquired that property in 1986), the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2009 Cask 23 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon presents deep aromas of ripe cherry, licorice, and dried herbs and, on the palate, a silky texture laced with smooth flavors of blackberry and vanilla. ($210) www.cask23.com

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