Twenty-five years after it became an AVA in 1989, this narrow strip of eastern Napa continues to enjoy a near-mythical status. While its elegant yet powerful Cabernet-based wines command elevated prices, there’s never any shortage of demand, as Adam Lechmere reports
A taste of Stags Leap: 10 to try
Clos du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Very discreet, earthy dark fruit nose with hints of tobacco. The palate has sour plum, coffee, high notes of tobacco, very fine cigar leaf. Fine-grained tannins release juice in a long finish. Complex and structured.
Price: £27.95-£56.54 All About Wine, Slurp, The Porterage Co, Wholefoods, WoodWinters
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cask 23 2010
Beguiling nose with blackberry and ripe black cherry. Very attractive early palate with forward blackcurrant and damson and hints of green pepper. A rolling, delicate wave of precise, linear tannins, with an overall impression of silkiness. Very fine, very approachable.
Price: £174.50-£200 Berkmann, Fortnum & Mason, Handford, Majestic, Winedirect
Pine Ridge Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Bright nose with salted plum. Sour acid, concentrated, tightly wound, dark fruit but with alluring hints of redcurrant and ripe raspberry. Soft, persistent tannins.
Price: £92.99 Liberty, Slurp
Chimney Rock, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Austere nose with dry cedar aromas, a palate loaded with sour plum, damson and a fine contrast of sweet blueberry. Superb dense tannic length.
Price: £34.99 CellarVie, Hard To Find Wines
Cliff Lede, Moondance Dream Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Amid the cassis, chocolate and tar on the nose is a waft of fresh green mown grass which lifts the aromas. On the palate, black olives, a touch of nettle, and suave tannins. Unexpected, brash but oddly feminine.
Price: N/A UK cliffledevineyards.com
Ilsley Vineyards, Seis Primas Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot 2011
Very fine dark ruby hue, bright cherry and sweet damson on the nose, grainy fine tannins with more cherry, damson and plum. Good concentration, bold, open palate with lovely juiciness and perfume.
Price: N/A UK ilsleyvineyards.com
Odette Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Bright lifted nose with cherry, chocolate notes. Instant tannic grip, sweet dark cherry and sandalwood, dry dissolved tannins leading to juice and freshness, fine perfumed length, food friendly, very persistent. Young and vibrant.
Price: N/A UK odetteestate.com
Stags’ Leap Winery, Ne Cede Malis Petite Sirah 2010
Lovely sweet cooked raspberry and balsamic vinegar nose, medicinal and fragrant. Structured and tight with dense tannic heft. Very juicy, with leather and minerality. Intense, precise.
Price: N/A UK stagsleap.com
Regusci Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Bright nose with ripe damson and spice. Dark fruit palate, plum, damson; then a surprising exotic layer of perfume and lovely nettley greenness at the finish.
Price: N/A UK regusciwinery.com
Silverado Vineyards, Solo
Sweet plum aromas, coffee and a hint of raisin. Austere, dark fruit, minerality, and a powerful texture from oak-heavy tannins. Young, on past form it will age gracefully.
Price: £71.50-£85.70 Handford, Harrods, Hedonism, Theatre of Wine, WoodWinters