Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, located in the Stag’s Leap District at the southern end of the Silverado Trail, is unquestionably one of the icons of the Napa Valley. While it is currently fashionable to point the finger at California for a style of wine that is considered too packed with fruit, concentration, and alcohol, this could not be less true of this estate which from its beginnings has persisted with a style that is summed up by the word classical, where ripe fruit and perfume are paired with elegance and structure. In 1969 Warren Winiarski tasted home-made Cabernet Sauvignon from Nathan Fay’s vineyard in the Stag’s leap District and knew he had found a place capable of producing wines as classic and expressive as the best of Bordeaux. When the fifty acre prune orchard just next to Fay’s vineyard came up for sale he bought it and in 1972 established Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars there. He called this patch of land S.L.V. (Stag’s Leap Vineyard) and it produced the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon which incredibly carried all before it at the famous 1976 Paris tasting and helped establish the Napa Valley as a wine region to be reckoned with. In 1986 Nathan Fay sold his Fay vineyard to the Winiarski family and now Fay and S.L.V. in their different ways together represent the pinnacle of the winery’s achievements. The best of these two opposites are combined in Cask 23 which is only produced in the best vintages. The terroir of all three of these wines combines the “water” of alluvial soils with the “fire” of weathered volcanic rock yielding concentration and structure. The heart of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is undoubtedly the estate vineyards, and extraordinary care is taken to assure that a wine’s aroma, flavor, and texture express a sense of place.
The FAY vineyard is where the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars story began. In 1969, founder Warren Winiarski tasted and fell in love with Nathan Fay’s homemade 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from his own vineyard – the first planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in the area, which would later become the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Admiring the wine’s structure, fruit and balance, Winiarski purchased an adjoining ranch, now known as S.L.V., in 1970, and in 1986 bought the Fay vineyard. Today, FAY, along with S.L.V., remains the heart and soul of our winemaking. All of our red wines are remarkably fruit-forward and accessible in their youth, yet remain true to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars house style: refined, elegant and suggesting a long life in the cellar. The FAY shows the typical bright cherry aromatic signature of the vineyard, as well as barrel spice, sandalwood, red plum and subtle sous bois (forest floor) aromas. The palate is fresh and energetic, with perfectly ripened red and black cherry and plum fruit. Gentle notes of spice, caramel and marshmallow cream sit in the background, adding nuance without masking the fruit character. The wine is solidly structured yet supple, closing with refreshing natural acidity.