Several months ago, I wrote an article on the 2005 vintage of Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon for John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet. I tasted a number of excellent wines from that already-legendary vintage for the story, and even among so many great bottlings, the Taylor Family Cabernet stood out for its combination of power, elegance, complexity, and aging potential.
Their 2005 Reserve bottling will not be released until this coming fall, but I recently had the opportunity to taste it, and I’m happy to report that it is even better than the regular Cab--no small achievement given the supremely high quality of that wine.
This one starts out with an explosive nose of dark chocolate, chocolate-covered cherries, kirsch, creme de cassis, and a hint of mint. For all this exuberance, however, it’s also a touch exotic, with sandalwood and licorice and scorched earth bringing something more mysterious to the glass. The palate, on the other hand, is where the wine’s primary fruit shows through brightest, with sweet cherry still dominating despite the emerging notes of tobacco, graphite, and something a touch floral. That floral quality really comes through on the finish, which practically sings with violets, sweet black tea, and minerals.
The Taylor Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005 is a perfect example--and embodiment--of what makes Stage Leap District so remarkable even within the Napa Valley as a whole: It’s delicious right now, promises to keep on evolving for at least 10 more years (depending on how you like your older Cabs), precise, exquisitely balanced, and endlessly involving as it gains nuance in the glass.