2013 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Cask 23" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 is backward, but concentrated, with beautiful blue, red and black fruits, spring flowers, a touch of toasty oak, relatively noticeable tannin and a full-bodied, multi-layered mouthfeel. This is coiled tight compared to the 2012, but has fabulous upside potential. Forget it for another 3-4 years and drink it over the following 25-30 years. 97+ (RP)
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon CASK 23 is another total knock-out from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Sculpted and nuanced, the 2013 presents a striking mélange of typical Stags Leap notes. Violets, lavender, mint, cloves, graphite and dark spice are some of the signatures in a Cabernet that achieves a compelling balance of power, finesse and overall intensity. This tightly coiled Cabernet is going to need a few years to fully come together, but it is terrific and a great example of what Stags Leap Cabernets are all about. New owner Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with minority partner Antinori, has done a magnificent job with these 2013s. In fact, the wines are so brilliant and such a significant departure from the past that I tasted through the range twice. New winemaker Marcus Notaro has introduced a more contemporary, fruit-driven style at Stag's Leap. More importantly, these 2013s show none of the flaws that marred some wines in the past. Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see where things go, but one thing is clear; the three flagship Cabernets are all fabulous. (AG)
Wine & Spirits
Marcus Notaro came to SLWC from Col Solare in Washington State. He blended the 2012s and worked on the 2013s with Kirk Grace, who manages the two estate vineyards—S.L.V. and Fay—that come together in Cask 23. Fay is an alluvial wash on the valley floor below the Stags Leap escarpment, with some blocks higher up the hillside, where the soils share more of the volcanic rock of S.L.V., a less fertile and faster draining colluvial mix fallen down from the hills above. Notaro uses those upper blocks of Fay and S.L.V. to build structure in Cask 23, as well as selections from vines on the lower, silty soils that offer a lighter, more fragrant Cabernet. What’s remarkable about this 2013 is how those elements combine in a wine with the textural richness and polish of great Stags Leap District Cabernet and then expand into fragrance. It’s a wine with forward motion, what senior editor Luke Sykora described as “a torrent of fruit in the middle, propulsive fruit that pushes the oak to the side.” The lasting impression is savory and bright, a wine that looks up to the future, one that will live long among the greats of the 2013 vintage in Napa Valley.
This is a rich, peppery and generously tannic and full-bodied expression of the grape, both powerful and brimming in grace. Soft and mellow on the midpalate, it builds up ripeness and texture toward the finish, ending with a satisfying bite of graham cracker and chocolate. (VB)
Showing a harmonious presentation of spicy oak and rich berry, this is elegant and refined. Slow to uncoil, revealing subtle flavor nuances of earth, herb, currant, olive and underbrush. Best from 2019 through 2029. (JL)