Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fay Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Try pairing this estate-grown Cabernet with citrus and roasted beet salad with goat cheese, soy-glazed salmon, or Pork Milanese.
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As Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars sets out to celebrate its 50th anniversary, this vintage of Fay cabernet may be the best wine I’ve tasted from that historic vineyard—the site and the wine that initially convinced Warren Winiarski to purchase the rocky hillside next to Nathan Fay’s vineyard. The soils at Fay are alluvial, remnants of an ancient riverbed, unlike the rock that eroded off the Stags Leap Escarpment and collected at the base of the hill at S.L.V., Winiarski’s original vineyard. In 2017, Fay is the elegant beauty. There’s nothing pushy or potent about its complexity, just a waterfall of minerals and fruits that seems to continue long after each taste. It would be hard not to fall in love with this wine’s svelte refinement. Open a bottle and let it lift your mood.
A barrel sample of 98.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.5% Cabernet Franc, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Fay Vineyard is very deep purple-black colored with bold black fruit notions of blackberries, black plums and warm black currants plus hints of camphor, cedar chest and charcoal with a waft of bay leaves. Medium to full-bodied with a firm, grainy frame and just enough freshness, it has a good core of fruit with plenty of savory accents on the finish. Rating: 92-94
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. Learn about Stags Leap history and estate-grown wines.
History of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars was founded in 1970 with the purchase of a 40 acre property in the now famed Stag’s Leap District AVA in Napa Valley. The winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley region when their 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon won the 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the "Judgement of Paris."
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Estate-Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
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 Cabernet wines are fashioned to express richness balanced by elegant restraint, an approach often described as "an iron fist in a velvet glove."
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.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.