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Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 1999

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    Merlot was first planted at Stags Leap in 1971 and produced its first vintage in 1977. Sensitive to both climate and soil, Merlot is not an easy grape to grow nor a wine easily made. But the grape seems to have found a good home in the Napa Valley. At Stags Leap it is our diverse collection of soils that begins to define the differences between two blocks of Merlot plantings, both situated on the western side of the vineyard just 400 feet apart. Block 17 is in a region where layers of rock mingle with sedimentary clays from the mountain shales and river silt. In Merlot block 21, deeper surface loam overlays a composition of less clay and a greater proportion of sand and gravel. Block 21 is the first Merlot we harvest each year. The grapes have firm structure and a distinct briary character. Some four weeks later, we harvest Block 17 where aromas of plum and blackberry dominate the fruit and the mouthfeel is velvety soft.

    Critical Acclaim

    Stags' Leap Winery

    Stags' Leap Winery

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    Stags' Leap Winery, , California
    Stags' Leap Winery
    A fashionable country resort in the mid-twentieth century, popular with Hollywood due to its 1892 stone Manor House and historic gardens, legends of bootleggers and gangsters, ghosts and gypsies, Stags' Leap has been home to three major family groups up through the modern revitalization of the winery that began in the 1970s.

    Stags Leap Manor, as it was called in the 1920s, was known as one of the prominent country retreats in the Napa Valley at a time when resort and spa business was big. In addition to lodging and dining, amenities included lawn tennis, swimming, horseback riding, children's activities, golf, music, cards, a library, and Napa Valley wines and liquors (prior to and after Prohibition).

    An intimate valley within the greater Napa Valley, Stags Leap is a place of natural beauty, storied buildings and gardens, a lively history, and a reputation for elegant wines showing finesse and intensity.

    Margaret River

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    Home to some of Australia’s most elegant and long-lived red and white wines, Margaret River is situated in the farthest reaches of Western Australia. Relatively warm and dry, the region is cooled by breezes from the Indian Ocean. Margaret River takes some inspiration from Bordeaux, producing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon with firm structure, mouthwatering acidity, balanced alcohol and notes of herbs and spice. Complex, age-worthy Chardonnays are another regional specialty. Also common here are refreshing blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, as well as earthy, aromatic Bordeaux red blends.

    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.

    CWC71882_1999 Item# 47060

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