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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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  • D95
  • WS93
  • WE93
750ML / 14.5% ABV
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4.5 35 Ratings
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4.5 35 Ratings
750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2012 CASK 23 combines the signature perfume notes of FAYvineyard with the structure and minerality of S.L.V. The wine openswith pleasing aromas of black cherry, dark plum, espresso and spice. The wine has a rich, ripe fruit entry that leads to a concentrated core of dark fruit (plum, black cherry, dried currant). The palate is expansive, coating the whole mouth with rich fruit, full and sweet tannins and lingering flavors mocha and black tea. Serve CASK 23 with grilled New York steak, prime rib with au jus, or black pepper-crusted Ahi tuna steaks.

The story of CASK 23 began during the harvest of 1974. Back then, the winery enlisted the help of celebrated winemaker André Tchelistcheff. As he tasted through various lots of new wines from that year, one lot from S.L.V. was so beautiful and deliciously distinct the winery decided it should be bottled separately. It was named CASK 23 for the large wooden cask in which it was aged. Today, the wine is a blend of the most distinctive fruit from the S.L.V and FAY vineyards, resulting in a wine of extraordinary depth and richness balanced by restraint. Over the years, CASK 23 has become one of the most highly regarded and collected wines worldwide.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 reveals more oak on the nose, but is a much deeper, richer, fuller wine than the S.L.V. Dense ruby/purple to the rim, beautiful blackberry and cassis fruit, cedar wood, toast and earth jump from the glass. Full-bodied and layered, but with nothing out of balance, this is probably the strongest Cask 23 since the glory years of the mid-80s. Look for this wine to drink well young, yet age effortlessly for 25 years.
D 95
Decanter
The best Cask 23 in recent memory, with inviting perfume, mouth-coating texture, intense black fruit and layers of graphite, cedar and firm yet elegant tannins.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Deftly balanced and well-proportioned, exhibiting a mix of complex currant, blackberry, black licorice and dried herb flavors. Ends impressively, with a subtle, expansive aftertaste that probes the nuances of Cabernet. Drink now through 2028. Editor's Choice
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Thick and dense, with managed tannins and a nest of oak, this marquee wine offers classic insight into the Napa Valley. It's weighty and somewhat smoky, with a lurking sense of minerality and balance. A powerful grip gives way on the lengthy finish to satisfying end notes of coffee and toffee. Editors' Choice.
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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, California
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Considered one of the "first growths" of Napa Valley, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignon from its historic Stags Leap District estate vineyards. Founded in 1970, the winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when the 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famout 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the "Judgement of Paris." Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons - CASK 23, S.L.V. and Fay - are among the most highly regarded and collected Cabernet Sauvignons worldwide. The wines are fashioned to express richness balanced by elegant restraint, an approach often described as "an iron fist in a velvet glove."

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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.

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux where it forms the base of the Medoc reds. These blends are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.

Tasting Notes for Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry red wine rich in color, tannin and extract. It expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In the Old World you'll often find the more earthy side of Cabernet. In warmer regions like California, Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more upfront fruit flavors.

Perfect Food Pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon

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 for Cabernet Sauvignon

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

JAE141469_2012 Item# 141469

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