2008 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Cask 23" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1077255 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 One sip is all it takes to fall in love with this 100% Cabernet, which hails from the winery’s Stags Leap District vineyards. It’s soft, lush and opulent in blackberry, cherry, blueberry, cassis, dark chocolate and smoky oak flavors. Although it was aged in 100% new French oak, the oak isn’t at all heavy. Rather, it’s perfect, adding just the right touch of smoke. Really fabulous, and the tannins define Stags Leap, so strong yet sweetly refined. If you can keep your hands off it, this is a wine to cellar for many years.  (4/2012)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 A blend of the top estate fruit from the eastern hillsides and lower alluvial soils of Fay and S.L.V. in Stag’s Leap, Cask 23 is a robust Cabernet in 2008. It has the dark, creamy richness of Stag’s Leap tannins, matched by fruit that’s as dark as pomegranate juice. The vintage lends a ferrous aspect to the structure, almost sanguine, allowing the wine to feel firm and open at once. It’s clean and balanced for long aging, enjoyable along the way with a thick-cut steak.  (4/2012)

Connoisseurs Guide

 We very much like the way this wine begins, and it may, in fact, turn out to be the winery's brightest star once a few years have passed, but right now, it veers to dryness and bitter chocolate after leading with lots of ripe fruit and sweet, hardwood-like spice. It winds up a little austere and gritty, and, if its youthful tannins certainly share in the blame, they would be less influential if balanced by a more generous complement of essential fruit.  (4/2012)

K&L Notes

The original bottling of Cask 23, in 1974, was a single barrel of wine that Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' founder Warren Winiarski and famed winemaker André Tchelistcheff thought special enough to bottle separately from the rest. These days, the Cask 23 blends the best from the S.L.V. and Fay vineyards for a wine that is distinctive and delicious. The 2008 comes mostly from Fay, and has the heady perfume that vineyard is known for, with aromas of violets, blackberry and black cherries, and subtler notes of spiced cocoa. Luxurious on the palate, this dense wine's black cherry cola, mocha and spice flavors are on a bed of velvety tannins. It keeps revealing more with air, and while it drinks now, it should age over the next five years, at least.

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5