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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
  • RP99
  • W&S96
  • WE92
  • WS90
14.5% ABV
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4.3 48 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2013 CASK 23 combines the signature perfume notes of FAY vineyard with the structure and minerality of S.L.V. Aromas of black cherry, cola, currant and ripe figs begin the nose of this rich and opulent Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate is full of black fruit (black plum and black cherry) and blueberry flavors that lead to an intense, lingering finish with a touch of cocoa.

Enjoy this CASK 23 with grilled New York steak, prime rib with jus, or black pepper-crusted Ahi tuna steaks.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 ratchets up the level of complexity, richness and density. Magnificent floral notes intermix with blueberry, blackberry and cassis, and there is no hint of new oak. A full-bodied opulence on the palate, great purity and personality make for a prodigious example of Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 30+ years. Kudos to Stags Leap Wine Cellars.
W&S 96
Wine & Spirits
Marcus Notaro came to SLWC from Col Solare in Washington State. He blended the 2012s and worked on the 2013s with Kirk Grace, who manages the two estate vineyards—S.L.V. and Fay—that come together in Cask 23. Fay is an alluvial wash on the valley floor below the Stags Leap escarpment, with some blocks higher up the hillside, where the soils share more of the volcanic rock of S.L.V., a less fertile and faster draining colluvial mix fallen down from the hills above. Notaro uses those upper blocks of Fay and S.L.V. to build structure in Cask 23, as well as selections from vines on the lower, silty soils that offer a lighter, more fragrant cabernet. What’s remarkable about this 2013 is how those elements combine in a wine with the textural richness and polish of great Stags Leap District cabernet and then expand into fragrance. It’s a wine with forward motion, what senior editor Luke Sykora described as “a torrent of fruit in the middle, propulsive fruit that pushes the oak to the side.” The lasting impression is savory and bright, a wine that looks up to the future, one that will live long among the greats of the 2013 vintage in Napa Valley.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This is a rich, peppery and generously tannic and full-bodied expression of the grape, both powerful and brimming in grace. Soft and mellow on the midpalate, it builds up ripeness and texture toward the finish, ending with a satisfying bite of graham cracker and chocolate.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Showing a harmonious presentation of spicy oak and rich berry, this is elegant and refined. Slow to uncoil, revealing subtle flavor nuances of earth, herb, currant, olive and underbrush. Best from 2019 through 2029. 3,900 cases made.
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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, 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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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.

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Cabernet Sauvignon

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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, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which 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.

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 is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile 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 profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

SWS403082_2013 Item# 156548