2005 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Cask 23" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Almost sure to raise controversy with its involving aromas of leather, roasted coffee, scorched chocolate and herbs, this unique offering smacks ever so faintly of Syrah and may not fit the fruity Cabernet model, but its complexity is beyond any argument. It is smooth and supple in feel with plenty of palatal weight and a fine sense of polish, and its neatly fit spine of firm structural tannins is precisely the stuff of fine Cabernet. A few years of age should make a good thing better, and it has room enough for ten years of growth.
Offers a glimpse of ripe, fleshy currant and black cherry fruit before turning drier and herbal, ending with a touch of leather and spice. (JL)
Cask 23, made only in exceptional vintages, is usually a blend of the most distinctive fruit from the S.L.V. and Fay estate vineyards. The story of Cask 23 began during the harvest of 1974. Back then, winery founder Warren Winiarski enlisted the help of celebrated winemaker André Tchelistcheff. As they tasted through various lots of new wines from that year, they noticed a distinct character in a lot from the center of Block 4, a character they described as "crushed violets." It was so appealing that they decided to age this wine separately in a wooden cask, number 23. The wine was still so deliciously distinct after further aging in barrel, Warren decided to bottle it separately and give it a special name.