Stags' Leap Winery Petite Sirah 1999
Howevever, Petite Syrah is a more delicate wine than its color or flavor intensity would imply," says winemaker Robert Brittan. From the outset, the grapes that become a part of this wine are handled with extreme care - handpicked, transported the short distance to the winery in small bins, and fermented in small batches at moderately warm temperatures. "You want to extract enough tannin to give the wine structure, but you don't want to overdo it; if you don't remove the skins at just the right time, you can easily create a monster."
The final wine, with 79% Petite Syrah, 15% Syrah, 3% Carignane, 2% Viognier and 1% Grenache, gives off big aromas of blackberry, mocha, forest floor and truffles. These aromatics are echoed in the mouth and woven with flavors of blackberry syrup, orange marmalade and cola. A thick, creamy mouthfeel finishes long with a sensation of bitter chocolate.
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.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.