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Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
  • WW94
  • RP93
  • WS90
15.3% ABV
  • RP93
  • WW94
  • RP93
  • WE91
  • RP94
  • RP91
  • RP91
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • RP92
  • WS92
  • WE92
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15.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The fruit was sourced from the hillside terraces of our Poetry Vineyard, as well as our Twin Peaks Vineyard estate surrounding the winery, and a few, select neighboring vineyards in the Stags Leap District. The wine is composed of small lots from our best blocks, representing a diverse range of carefully selected clones and rootstocks. From exposed, rocky terraces that are volcanic in origin, to the ancient riverbed alluvial soils, the breadth of contributing sites translates into a wine of impressive complexity.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 94
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
For decades the Stags Leap District was always considered the area that produced the most elegant Cabernet Sauvignons in the Napa Valley. In recent years, the wines have gotten substantially richer. The 2013 Cliff Lede is such an example of this style—extracted, rich and almost thick. The wine is superbly crafted showing bold black fruits, some violets, and sweet earth. Drinks nicely now and a superb choice with grilled rib-eye of beef. (Tasted: September 9, 2016, San Francisco, CA)
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a beauty, showing all the generosity of the 2012 vintage. Composed of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 3% Merlot, its dense purple color is followed by copious aromas of crème de cassis and spring flowers, supple tannins, and an opulent, fleshy style. A total intellectual and hedonistic turn-on, it is loaded with fruit and complexity, and reveals beautiful harmony among all the component parts. It is a terrific introduction to what Cliff Lede has achieved at such a high quality level. Consume it over the next 10-15 years.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Strikes a balance between elegance and finesse, with a mixed core of dark berry, savory herb, cedar, crushed rock and tobacco flavors. Firmly tannic on the finish, ending with a burst of black licorice. Drink now through 2026.
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Cliff Lede

Cliff Lede Vineyards

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Cliff Lede Vineyards, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
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Established in 2002, Cliff Lede Vineyards encompasses 60 acres in the famed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Owner Cliff Lede, viticulturist David Abreu, winemaker Kale Anderson and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka have come together to form an unrivalled team, making the most of this remarkable property. Their state-of-the-art gravity-flow winery boasts a berry-by-berry sorting system and conical tanks commissioned using a design inspired by the tanks of Chateau Latour. One tank per vineyard block ensures each lot evolves at its own pace and acres of caves with single-layer barrel storage ensure access to each barrel at all times. The winery produces Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their flagship, Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, is crafted from the steep hillside portion of the estate.

Stags Leap District

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Legend has it that quick and nimble stags would escape the indigenous hunters of southern Napa Valley through the landmark palisades that sit just northeast of the current city of Napa. As a result, the area was given the name, Stags Leap. While its grape-growing history dates back to the mid-1800s, winemaking didn’t really take off until the mid-1970s after a small but pivotal blind tasting called the Judgement of Paris.

When a 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon won first place against its high-profile Bordeaux contenders, like Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion, international attention to the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley escalated rapidly.

The vineyards in this one-of-a-kind wine growing region receive hot afternoon air reflecting off of its eastern palisade formation. In combination with the cool evening breezes from the San Pablo Bay just south, this becomes an optimal environment for grape growing. While many varieties could thrive here, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate with virtually no others, save for a spot or two of Syrah.

Stags Leap soils—eroded volcanic and old river sediments—encourage well established root systems and result in complex, terroir-driven wines. Stags Leap District reds have a distinct sour cherry and black berry character with baking spice and dried earth aromas, and supple tannins.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

MSW30130723_2012 Item# 143284