1998 was a different kind of vintage at Stags' Leap Winery. The weather was cooler than normal through the spring and into the summer months. The Cabernet Sauvignon that resulted had a linear structure supporting spicy, big, red-fruit characteristics. Winemaker Robert Brittan fermented the grapes in small lots, many with open tops. Hand-punching of the caps during extended maceration produced good color and tannin extraction.
After fermentation, Brittan aged the wine in medium-toast French Alliers oak barrels for 23 months. Clove, anise and red cherry aromas are drawn into concentrated, spicy, red berry, red cherry, cassis and red plum flavors with complementary flavors of liquorice and cinnamon-clove.