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Regional profile: Stags Leap District

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
18.5/20pts (95/100pts)
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
Drink 2014-2025
Alc 13.5%

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cask 23 2010

18.5/20pts (95/100pts)
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
Drink 2015-2030
Alc 14.5%

Pine Ridge Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
18/20pts (93/100pts)
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
Drink 2016-2030
Alc 13.5%

Chimney Rock, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
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
Drink 2015-2025
Alc 14.5%

Cliff Lede, Moondance Dream Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
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
Drink 2015-2025
Alc 14.5%

Ilsley Vineyards, Seis Primas Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot 2011
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
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
Drink 2015-2025
Alc 14.5%

Odette Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
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
Drink 2016-2026
Alc 15%

Stags’ Leap Winery, Ne Cede Malis Petite Sirah 2010

17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
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
Drink 2014-2030
Alc 14.5%

Regusci Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
17/20pts (90/100pts)
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
Drink 2014-2020
Alc 14.5%

Silverado Vineyards, Solo

17/20pts (90/100pts)
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
Drink 2015-2030
Alc 14%

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