Cellar Notes: Cliff Lede 2010 Landslide Fire Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District

Photo by Cordero Studios

The eponymous owner of Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley has an obvious passion for all things cultural. This enthusiasm manifests itself in every aspect of the property: The tasting room, with its California Craftsman–style design, quietly evokes the region’s past, for example, while in the winery, sleek postmodern architecture and state-of-the-art, custom-designed conical tanks epitomize the present and future. Works of modern art from Lede’s collection adorn this minimalist space, and an intimate on-site gallery, the Backstage, houses regular revolving exhibits of works by contemporary artists. Music, too, plays a part in the Cliff Lede experience—though not perhaps in the manner one might expect. The vineyards on the estate’s 60 acres are divided into blocks, each of which is named for one of Lede’s favorite rock songs. Each year, the winery combines two of these lots to create a distinctive “Rock Block” blend. For 2010, the winemaker Chris Tynan combined fruit from the Landslide and Light My Fire blocks to produce Cliff Lede 2010 Landslide Fire Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District, an exuberant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. As dense as it is black in color, this powerhouse seduces the nose with scents of concentrated blueberry, rose petal, and vanilla, before blasting the palate with pulse-quickening chords of blackberry, dark chocolate, and anise. ($95) www.cliffledevineyards.com

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