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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
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14.5% ABV
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4.5 14 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

S.L.V., also known as Stag's Leap Vineyards, is the winery's first vineyard. Planted in 1970, this vineyard achieved international fame when three-year-old vines from the 1973 harvest produced a wine that stunned the wine world when it bested some of France's greatest wines in a 1976 blind tasting known as the "Judgment of Paris." Today, this history-making vineyard continues to produce wines with layers of complexity, spicy intensity and excellent structure—promising long life and ageability.

The 2012 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon offers intriguing aromas of cocoa powder, wild blackberries and currants. The wine has a plush entry that fills the mouth with dark blueberry and wild berry flavors along with hints of spice. The palette is rich and concentrated with big, yet round, tannins that lead to a finish of black currantwith hints of sweet oak. The wine's structured tannins, rich fruit, and pleasing minerality point to this wine's ability to age.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 95
Wine & Spirits
Warren Winiarski planted this benchland site in 1970, a parcel adjacent and just to the south of Nathan Fay’s vineyard, which produced the grapes that had initially attracted Winiarski to this place at the rim of the Stags Leap escarpment. As it turned out, the soils at S.L.V. were different, primarily volcanic. The vineyard is best known for having produced the wine that won the Paris Tasting of 1976—from vines then three years old—and this latest vintage is a window into how that might have happened. The 35-acre site is planted to cabernet sauvignon, today at a range of ages; the oldest block, a five-acre hillside, dates to 1972 (there’s a small block of merlot that did not go into this wine). Aged in 100 percent new oak, S.L.V. has the density of flavor to completely absorb the oak and its tannins, transforming that espresso-roast scent into layers of dark and savory flavors of fresh black fruit. Even as the flavor is saturated and the texture supple, it feels airy and seamless, a wine of finesse and elegance rather than weight.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. is a paragon of elegance and finesse, yet doesn't cheat the taster on flavor. Dense ruby/purple with round, juicy, earthy black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, underbrush and forest floor, the wine is fragrant, medium to full-bodied, soft, seductive and round. This is a lovely, juicy, pure style of wine to drink over the next 10-15 years.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Offers a dusty, savory, loamy mix of dried berry, herb, underbrush and dark berry flavors, ending with a long, focused finish and layers of complexity. Drink now through 2028.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
This estate-grown wine honors the historical vineyard that brought the Napa Valley worldwide attention for Cabernet. It offers both complexity and elegance, as well as an herbal underbrush accented by tobacco. Chocolate, caramel and coffee add to the intrigue around smooth, velvety tannins.
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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."

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 now the world's most planted grape variety. 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 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 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.

KRU141494_2012 Item# 141494