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Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association

2009 Tasting Notes

Download 2009 Tasting Notes (PDF)

Baldacci Family Vineyards

2009 Black Label Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The 2009 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon is from Baldacci's single vineyard in the heart of Stags Leap District. It is created from the best selections of several cabernet sauvignon blocks on their 17-acre parcel. Winemaker Rolando Herrera has found that different sections of the vineyard bring forth unique characteristics from the grape (fruit forwardness, tannic structure, acid balance) which together combine to make a perfectly balanced wine. Rolando allows the fruit to express itself in the fermentation process before each lot is placed into oak barrels and allowed to age separately until Rolando begins blending to create a balanced, 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The aging in 100% French, 60% new, barrels for 18 months only enhances this balanced wine.

Dark red ruby hues and powerful aromas of ripe red fruit, dried roses, figs and caramel are the hallmark of this classic Stags Leap District, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. On the palate, flavors of dark chocolate, black cherries, cassis and delicate oak notes combine with balanced acidity and lingering tannins to give this wine great length and intensity. The 2009 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect food pairing wine with its excellent balance and will age well for seven to nine years.

Chimney Rock Winery

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ganymede Vineyard, Stags Leap District

Ganymede exemplifies the elusive balance of power and grace that is so revered and expected of Chimney Rock wines. The Chimney Rock estate is comprised of more than twenty distinct vineyard blocks, each possessing a unique soil profile and microclimate that helps create a wine that evokes a singular sense of place and time. Home of the oldest vines on the estate, the Ganymede Vineyard, located along the northern edge of the property, takes its name from the legendary mortal who, in Greek mythology, served as cup-bearer to the Gods. This wine offers some of the best fruit of their sustainably farmed estate. The 2009 vintage presented near-perfect growing conditions. A dry spring and warm summer resulted in small berries, intense concentration of blackberry and cassis aromas and beautiful silky tannins.

Cliff Lede Vineyards

2009 Cinnamon Rhapsody Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The majority of this fruit was sourced from two distinctive blocks named "Cinnamon Girl" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" located on the winery's Stags Leap District estate. The soils and exposure of these two blocks demonstrate stark contrasts, which are reflected in the wine's complex profile.

Grapes were picked in the darkness of the early morning hours, and immediately subjected to rigorous selection by a three-tiered hand-sorting system. The berries were gently delivered to tank by the winery's distinctive crane system, minimizing disruption of berry integrity. Cold soaks lasted approximately five to eight days and native fermentations were managed via a combination of delestage, punchdowns and pumpovers. Extended maceration from three to five weeks fine-tuned the tannin profiles. The wine underwent 21 months of elevage in 100% new French Oak.

The black color and aromas of tobacco and leather seem appropriate for a wine inspired by rock. Like a good classic rock n' roll song, this wine is loud and unabashed. The deep concentration of their ripest release of Rock block thus far can be attributed to terroir and meticulous handwork in the vineyard. Silky tannins crescendo through as it leads to a long finale. Structure will be rewarded with patient cellaring. For the patient and impatient alike, decanting is recommended.

Clos Du Val

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

Clos Du Val's flagship Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the winery's renowned Stags Leap District vineyard best known for its elegant and opulent wines. Deep garnet in color, this wine is aged in French oak barrels for 24 months. The wine is full-bodied and accented with complex flavors of black fruit, chocolate, and mocha. The 2009 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits extraordinary complexity and balance, bolstered by fully integrated, silky tannins. Enjoy now or cellar for at least ten or more years.

Hartwell Vineyards

2009 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

Mother Nature worked her magic here on Wappo Hill and bestowed Hartwell's vines with another favorable season and harvest. A lack of frost, coupled with a mild and relatively cool growing season, permitted extended hang time and allowed the fruit to ripen to full phenolic maturity with balanced sugar levels. Meanwhile, Northern California experienced above average rainfall levels for the past three years, and this vintage was no exception. Fortunately, harvest was fully complete on both of the winery's Estate vineyards before the rains arrived! Thus, a fortuitous growing season and a well-timed harvest yielded a vintage that exhibits concentrated and complex flavors, mature tannins and aromatic complexity. Additional bottle age will only enhance the splendor of the 2009 vintage!

The 2009 Hartwell Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon displays soaring aromatics of blackberry liqueur, melted licorice, roasted coffee bean and baker's chocolate, with subtle hints of baking spices and sweet cedar. The full-bodied palate showcases luscious flavors of macerated blueberries, blackberry syrup, sarsaparilla and mocha cappuccino, defined by a structure of smooth and fine-grained tannins. As the flagship wine in their portfolio, this wine offers early drinkability and promises to gain in complexity as it evolves over the next two decades.

Ilsley Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most iconic varietal grown in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley and offers a distinctive, fruit focused, powerful yet soft version of this noble grape. The Ilsley Family is extremely proud of their 2009 offering. The 2009 brought favorable weather, hang time and spring rain allowed them to make the best that the Ilsley Vineyards' soil can offer. Sandwiched between the more sensational seasons of 2008 (frost) and 2010 (cool), 2009 has been somewhat overshadowed in the minds of some. This wine is a reminder of the great 2009 vintage.

The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon leads with intense black cherry and black berry on the nose. Cocoa powder and vanilla sit just behind the red fruit aromas. The color is inky as usual for Ilsley Vineyards Cabernet and that color is reflected in the concentration and power of the fruit on the palate. Cassis, ripe plum and black cherry burst out on the palate, followed by a warm, seasoned mid palate with hints of dark chocolate and a long finish that combines firm tannins with complex cabernet fruit.

Lindstrom Wines

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The aromas of the Lindstrom 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon show an intensity of purple berry fruits: boysenberries, cassis syrup, and dark blackberries. These are joined by base notes of toasted pecans, dark chocolate, and a touch of sweet baking spices. Subtle hints of liquid cherry add complexity. On the palate, the entry is soft and broad, yet with enough "grip" to assure longevity. The fresh berry aromas echo back to the palate; warm berries, liquid-centered chocolate-covered cherries, warm blackberry pie with a waft of toasted wheat and a touch of creamy vanilla.

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was produced entirely from fruit grown on the Lindstrom estate in Stags Leap District, Napa Valley. The 11 blocks of vineyard were assessed independently for ripeness, and were harvested by hand between September 25 and October 6, 2009. The fruit was gently destemmed, then fermented in small tanks. After 14 to 22 days, the fruit was pressed, then transferred to small barrels (80% new French oak) for about 20 months of barrel age. The Cabernet was blended in July 2010, returned to barrels, and bottled in mid-July, 2011. A total of 505 cases were produced.

Malk Family Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The 2009 Malk Family Vineyards Stags Leap District Cabernet is a pleasure from start to finish. Its deep, dark red appearance offers a first glimpse of its rich and lively nature. The nose is filled with many of the attributes that have become signatures of this wine: vanilla-spice, sweet chocolate, and ripe blackberry and currant. The 2009 also offers interesting mineral notes of crushed gravel and even notes of the loamy and volcanic soils in which the grapes are grown. More delicate aromas of paper whites and lavender come and go as they mix with hints of fresh tobacco leaf and cedar. While the weighty palate is incredibly supple, there is plenty of concentration in this wine to carry it for many years of enjoyment.

Pine Ridge Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

With meticulous attention to detail and a knowledge developed over 30 years of continuity, Pine Ridge Vineyards produces wines that showcase 200 acres of premier estate vineyards across five renowned appellations in the Napa Valley. The 2009 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon is a pure expression of the world-famous appellation. The majority of the winery's 47 acres across four estate vineyards in this region are densely planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals on steeply-terraced hillsides with Bale clay-loam soils. These prized vineyards produce very low yields of intensely flavored grapes.

Comprised of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this elegant ruby-purple wine enchants the nose with an array of rich fruit aromas of cooked Bing cherries, ripe raspberry and strawberry preserves enveloped by touches of briar, espresso spice and dried violets. The delightfully supple palate exhibits unparalleled balance, silky tannins and deep flavors of dark cherry and boysenberry alongside touches of caramel, baking spice and sugared cinnamon toast that continue long through the velvety finish.

Regusci Winery

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

Here comes 2009 at its elegantly balanced best! This 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon - 92% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Estate Merlot, 2% Estate Cabernet Franc - is focused on the nose with deep black cherry and cola notes complemented by a clean mineral edge on the finish. The palate delights in earthen black and red currant fruit, smoky spices and pleasantly tart tannins. While the 2009's are approachable now, they are a bit shy! The Regusci Family knows from experience that this debutante is really going to blossom over the coming year to expose that soft chocolate and cassis mid-palate for which her older sisters are known! Pull the cork now or wait eight to ten years if you can!

Robinson Family Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

"Gently nestled amidst the rugged terrain of the famed Stags Leap District, sits the piece of heaven that is Robinson Family Vineyards. Worlds apart from the corporately-held commercial wineries that now dominate the Napa Valley, we pride ourselves in our 'hands on' approach from vine to bottle with family members playing a critical role each step of the way," shares proprietor Susan Robinson Jinks.

The highly limited-production 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of several small lots of grapes which are then handpicked from their estate vineyard during optimal conditions to ensure perfect balance and structure. Bright fruit aromas of Bing cherry and sweet vanilla greet the nose followed by a rich, round palate, balanced with notes of walnut and hints of cedar. The lingering finish reveals a sweet blueberry fruit supported by silky tannins. This beautiful wine can be enjoyed now or cellared for ten years or more! Only 224 cases produced.

Shafer Vineyards

2009 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

One Point Five is an elegant, silky Cabernet Sauvignon with soft tannins and abundant fruit that is approachable when young, yet capable of aging gracefully. This wine reflects the climate and soils of Shafer's Stags Leap District vineyard sites and their commitment to meticulous, sustainable farming and quality winemaking. The 2009 vintage is a Cabernet that is enticing and enjoyable now and will just get better with time in the cellar. Aromas of alluring, rich black fruit, mocha, cola and spice, are followed by full-bodied, juicy flavors of blackberry and black cherry, dark chocolate, plum, smoke and cedar, with ripe, smooth tannins and a pleasingly long finish.

Silverado Vineyards

2009 SOLO, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

On land that has supported vines since the 1880s, Silverado's vineyard was the third property planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in what became the Stags Leap District, and fruit from this property helped establish the area's reputation in the 1970s.

SOLO is produced entirely from grapes grown in this vineyard, which stretches across the rocky terraces and gentle slopes between the Silverado Trail and the Napa River. It displays all the ripe and complex fruit, supple texture, and solid structure that helped define the District, the most distinctive Cabernet-growing region in the Napa Valley.

The 2009 Solo shows sweet spices, dried herb, and crunchy red Fuji apple aromas with a layer of lightly toasted oak. Full bodied with a strong balanced core of deliciousness.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

2009 Fay Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The FAY vineyard is where the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars story began. Established by pioneering grape grower Nathan Fay in 1961, it was the first planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in what is now the Stags Leap District. Nearly three quarters of the Cabernet Sauvignon for the 2009 blend comes from blocks in the lower and middle sections of the FAY vineyard, which give the wine its classic red-fruit tones and aromatic top notes. The balance was sourced from the upper section (eastern blocks) of FAY, which tends to be more powerful and lends structure to the wine. When the various lots are blended and aged in French oak barrels, the resulting wine gives the classic expression that is a hallmark of the winery's estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, "an iron fist in a velvet glove."

This wine opens with generous aromas of bright raspberry, sandalwood, vanilla and anise along with the signature bright cherry note of the vineyard. The aromas are followed by an alluring mix of red cherry, blueberry and tangerine that envelop the palate with nuances of vanilla and spice from careful aging in French oak barrels. The palate is lush with ripe tannins, balanced acidity and a persistent berry/cherry finish. Enjoy with spice-rubbed rack of lamb or roasted duck with a cherry sauce.

Stags' Leap Winery

2009 The Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The Leap is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the finest blocks in Stags' Leap Winery estate vineyard. The heat-reflecting rocky crags that tower above the estate combine with cooling breezes from the south to create a micro-climate phenomenally well-suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of distinction. The 2009 was selected from over 20 blocks and numerous lots held separately in French oak barrels for 20 months and blended just prior to bottling. Keeping the lots separate allows Winemaker Christophe Paubert to evaluate and "grow" each lot individually, coaxing each to its maximum potential. A mix of 50% new and seasoned barrels allows the oak to "broadcast" but never overshadow the fruit.

Aromatic intensity and flavor concentration define the 2009 The Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, which displays well-delineated flavors of black cherry, blueberry and cassis. With silky tannins that spread warmly over the palate, the fruit is lifted by the restrained use of oak and buttressed with notes of fresh herbs, licorice and coffee bean.

Steltzner Vineyards

2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Martini Clone, Stags Leap District

Founded by Richard Steltzner in 1965, the Steltzner family has been working with the land in the Stags Leap District for over 45 years. Their 30-acre estate, tucked under the eastern slopes of the Vaca Range below the Stags Leap Palisades, is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Sangiovese, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Martini Clone is a single vineyard bottling of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The original bud wood for this vineyard came from the legendary vintner Louis Martini's home vineyard in St. Helena, over 40 years ago. Planted on the southern part of their Estate, the Steltzners produced just 140 cases. The 2009 Vintage was an exceptional growing season. Classic notes of cassis, bright raspberry and luxurious tannins. This block adds exceptional structure to wine with a sublet mineral notes that will allow it to cellar for years to come. The family hopes this bottle brings as much joy to your family as it does to theirs.

Taylor Family Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Stags Leap District

The 2009 Taylor Family Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is classic winemaking and a true expression of the soil, climate and landscape of their estate Stags Leap District vineyard. The bouquet leads with wild cherries, sweet leaf tobacco, cassis and mocha integrated with spice while complementing the supple, soft, silky tannins and rich layers of cherry and cassis. The long lasting finish offers cocoa and leaf tobacco. Enjoy the 2009 Reserve now, although patient cellaring will add additional elegance and finesse. Composition 100% Cabernet; Alcohol 14.3%; Release Date: 2014; Production: 252 cases.

Terlato Family Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

The Terlato family is dedicated to producing extraordinary wines from California's most esteemed appellations. This wine comes from the Stags Leap District, recognized as one of the finest locations in the world for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Unlike other warmer areas of the Napa Valley, the distinctive palisades of the Stags Leap District create a funneling effect that draws in cool marine air in the late afternoons, which helps produce lush, elegant, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignons that rival the world's greatest wines. The 2009 vintage wine delights with aromas of cherry, black licorice, toffee and a hint of vanilla and an elegant tannin structure.

Download 2009 Tasting Notes (PDF)