Everything You Need To Know About Stag’s Leap Appellation & Its Wine

A lot of us know Stag’s Leap District as the appellation that made history in 1976 by putting American wines front and center. At a blind tasting that became known as the “Judgment of Paris,” nine French judges awarded first place in a blind tasting to the 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. It surpassed French superstar wines such as Mouton-Rothschild and Leoville Las Cases.  It was the most stunning upset in wine history. Years later, history repeated itself during a reprisal of the tasting, when yet another wine from Stag’s Leap, Clos Du Val Cabernet, won the tasting.

 

Stag’s Leap name was supposedly inspired by a stag who successfully avoided hunters by disappearing in the district’s peaks and valleys. The first vines were planted in the18th century; sadly, the original vineyards fell victim first to Phylloxera, and then later to Prohibition. Post-Prohibition, Nathan Fay is credited with planting the first vineyards along the Silverado Trail. His were some of the first Cabernet Sauvignon planting in the United States. Fay sold fruit to Joe Heitz, who designated it as “Fay Vineyard” on his label.

 

A combination of volcanic and gravely soils produce fruit known for its electric intensity and lengthy, round flavors. A long growing season, with dramatic temperature swings—rapid heat early in the day that give way to cool San Pablo Bay breezes, make for a deft balance between sugar and acidity.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon remains the dominate variety of the Stag’s Leap District; with some Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Chardonnay rounding out the plantings. Here are 5 incredible wineries from the Stag’s Leap Appellation.

 

Cliff Lede Vineyard

 

 

1473 Yountville Cross Road
Yountville, CA 94599Helena, CA 94574
Website // Email

 

Hartwell Estate Vineyards

 

 

Hartwell Estate Vineyards
5795 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
Website // Email

 

Lindtsrom Wines

 

 

P.O. Box 3506
Yountville, CA 94599
Website // Email

 

Shafer Vineyards

 

 

6154 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
Website // Email

 

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

 

 

6150 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
Website // Email

Ilona Thompson

Ilona Thompson is Editor-in-Chief at PalateXposure, a destination site for oenophiles, gourmands and luxury travelers. She also recently launched #Wine, a site dedicated to wines and spirits reviews, and #Photography, a site devoted to high-quality wine, food, and travel related photography.

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