Monday, April 5, 2010

Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon: Report on the 2005 Vintage

The proverbial “great year” is a slippery thing, often driven as much by a sense of promotion and marketing as by reality. And for most people--typically all but the most ardent and well-read wine lovers--the concept of a great year remains an abstraction, some quasi-mystical concept that involves often-high prices, lots of hyperbole, and a dollop of bragging rights.

Once in a while, however, a so-called great year actually is one, and the wines are every bit as balanced and long-lived as they’re purported to be. Of course, top wines from legendary vintages are the result of more than just propitious and well-timed weather: They’re also products of vineyard management and winemaking that are both in sync with and geared toward maximizing the particular conditions of that specific growing season.

With this in mind, then, I am happy to report that all the hype surrounding the 2005 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignons is spot on. I recently tasted a range of 2005 bottlings from that storied appellation, and was stunned by both their early drinkability and the long lives they generally have ahead of them. They also were true to form, possessing all the ripe cherry and dark berry fruit, velvety tannins, and exquisite balance that Stags Leap’s fans look to it for.

My full assessment ran this past weekend in John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet. Click here to see the story, as well as my tasting notes for the best wines of the bunch. After that, snap up multiple bottles of anything you buy and follow them over the course of their evolution: They’re utterly delicious now, and promise to get even better in the years to come.


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