Tag Archives: Napa Valley Vintners

Stags Leap District extraordinary Cabernet

House of Cab Stag's Leap District

Stags Leap District winemaking history goes back to mid-1880’s with the establishment of Occidental Winery off Silverado Trail. Today is home to Regusci Winery. The Phylloxera outbreak and Prohibition killed the booming wine industry in the region. By 1961 pioneer Nathan Fey planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the in Stags Leap District. From 70 acres jumped to over 34,000 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in California today. In 1973 the Judgment of Paris exposed Stags Leap wines to stardom. In a blind tasting, nine renown French wine judges choose the 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon over well known French producers as Mouton-Rothschild and Haut Brion.

Vertical Blind Tasting
Stags Leap District Winegrowers  celebrated House of Cab Library Blind Tasting event at Jardinière Restaurant in San Francisco. What a treat to try Cabernet Sauvignon (1991 to 2010) in a blind side by side tasting, from this unique winemaking region. The tasting experience demonstrated the longevity and the sense of place of these exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines revealed a great balanced between acid, fruit, and tannins. Great fruit character, pleasant spiciness, wood nuances, velvety texture and a long finish.

From the blind library tasting some of my favorites are, 1992 Clos Du Val, 2007 Terlato Family Vineyards, 1995 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, 2005 Isley Vineyards, 2008 Baldacci Black Label and 2008 Quijote SLD.

Pictures by Edgar Solis Photo

Walk Around Tasting
At the walk around tasting, the participating wineries shared a variety of wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Petit Syrah.

A unique chance to talk to vintners and winemakers about how they grow and craft their wines. From Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Director of Vineyards Operations, Kirk Grace shared how they achieved green certification on their 142 acres of Estate vineyards by adhering to sustainable practices. “At Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars we put quality vs. quantity. Numbers are significant, but growing quality grapes and making exceptional wines is all about being in tune with the vines and down on the dirt”.

Kirk Grace, Director of Vineyards Operations For Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Kirk Grace, Director of Vineyards Operations For Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Marcus Notaro, Winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, shared his thoughts about the 2016 harvest. “Bud break was early in Napa Valley this year and a cold season. We didn’t achieve the normal high temperature in July and August, which allowed for a prolonged hang time of the fruit. Overall, high-quality grapes in our vineyards. The grapes ripened evenly with lower than normal yield, but tasty berries. An interesting fact for this harvest is that the grapes from the cooler areas like Coombsville ripened at the same rate than the warmer areas like St. Helena.”

Marcus Notaro, Winemaker for Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Marcus Notaro, Winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Michael Beaulac, Winemaker for Pine Ridge, shared the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, and 2014 Carneros, Napa Chardonnay. All well balanced outstanding wines. Michael has 25 harvests under his belt, he joined Pine Ridge back in 2009, he came aboard with hi expectations of showcasing the 200 acres estate vineyards, 12 properties within five Napa Valley appellations. He enjoys creating wines that are unique to their terroir, as well as combining the various qualities of several vineyards into a harmonious blend.

Michael Beaulac, Winemaker for Pine Ridge Vineyards
Michael Beaulac, Winemaker for Pine Ridge Vineyards

Pictures By Edgar Solis Photo

Overall, The House of Cab Stags Leap District tasting event showed that top quality grapes treated with respect produced formidable wines for every taste. I share my experience with some favorite wines bellow.

  • 1992 Clos Du Val Stag’s Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon: Still going strong, with aromas of ripe red fruit, vanilla, allspice, leather and hints of rose petals. On the palate, feels luscious with an elegant texture and flavors or ripe dark berries, dark cherries, brown spices and touch of sweetness and green tea. Suggested retail price $70.

  • 2015 Stag’s Leap Winery Viognier: Bright acidity with ripe stone fruit, honeysuckle and kiwi. This Viognier finished clean with hints of passion fruit and guava. Suggested retail price $32.

  • 2011 Quixote Petite Syrah: This wine shows Star Anise, ripe plum, dark berries and coffee bean aromas. On the palate, this Petite Syrah feels full body with substantial but smooth tannins. Suggested retail price $80.

Premiere Napa Valley 2016 E-Auction lots

Edgar Solís Photo

Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) is the must-attend trade event of the year! Since 1997, retailers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, club managers and wholesalers representing the breadth of wine professionals gather in America’s leading wine region in mid-February for what has become widely known as “the best week of the Napa Valley wine business.” The region’s top winemakers offer ultra-boutique wines to the trade, crafted in as few as 60 and never more than 240 bottles, exclusively for the PNV brand.

Each PNV wine is created only once. At the auction, 225 different wineries offer futures only to the wine trade—individual restaurateurs and wine retailers—so they have the unique, and some of the best wines made from America’s leading appellation. Each wine is a “one-of-a-kind,” and will not be found in the market except by the wine sellers who secure unique wines via the annual trade auction. The winemakers take an out-of-the-box approach, often using varieties they may not bottle as a stand-alone. These wines are innovative and showcase the region’s sense of exploration in fine winemaking.

On January 15th, 2016, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit wine trade association announced that as part of this year’s annual PNV, the NVV is introducing the sale of twenty-five PNV lots exclusively online. The other 200 lots will go on the auction block at the sold-out event, taking place at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone on February 20. Bidding for the new E-Premiere Napa Valley Online Auction opens Friday, February 19 at 8 a.m. PST to pre-registered licensees anywhere in the world. Look for E-Auction wines from Beaulieu Vineyard, Ca’ Momi, Domaine Chandon, Sterling Vineyards, Chateau Boswell Winery, Sequoia Grove Winery, Corison Winery, Elizabeth Spencer, among others. To preview description of all 225 lots offer at the auction this year visit PNV’s website.

Hundreds of top wine traders will gather in Napa Valley for tastings, social gatherings and networking events as Napa Valley vintners roll out the red carpet to greet their best customers at the main event at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The funds raised support the association’s work to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley appellation. This year the anticipation builds as the Online Auction will allow other trade members around the world to have access to some PNV lots.

During this time of the year, the Valley exudes high festive energy. Wineries and wine organizations like Atlas Peak, Appellation St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Oak Knoll Vintners, Oakville Winegrowers Association, Stags Leap District Winegrowers, Rutherford Dust Society, Coombsville Vintners and Growers will join efforts to showcase the best of Napa Valley with tastings open to the wine trade during the days preceding the main auction event. Also, not to forget special engagement gatherings like Napa Gras! at Raymond Vineyards. A unique opportunity to taste hundreds of Napa Valley wines. The professional networking peer to peer and amongst the vintners is often compared to a homecoming for Napa Valley’s finest ambassadors.

Complement the tasting with professional development seminars, a unique Vintage Perspective Tasting and countless intimate at-winery open houses and educational tastings and you’ve got all the right ingredients for a fantastic time in the Napa Valley, just for members of the wine trade.

For members of the trade not able to attend the PNV auction event, electronic bidding will be open to pre-registered licensees anywhere in the world from Friday, February 19 at 8:00 a.m. PST through Saturday, February 20 at 6:00 p.m. PST. For more information about how members of the wine trade can register for the E-Premiere Napa Valley Online Auction, visit NVV website.

The NVV nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its more than 525 members to create consistently wines of the highest quality, to provide environmental leadership and to care for the extraordinary place they call home.