Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Collector’s Corner

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Vineyard Articles

A Lesson: APOLOGUE and the FAY Vineyard

An apologue (ap- uh- log) is a dramatic story meant to convey a useful lesson or truth. And so goes the story of Nathan Fay, the grape-growing pioneer who first planted Cabernet Sauvignon in the region now known as the Stags Leap District. At the time, there were those who scoffed at the notion of planting Cabernet in the cooler climate south of Yountville. Nathan proved the skeptics wrong by growing grapes and producing wines of extraordinary flavor and texture. The FAY vineyard and Stags Leap District would become recognized as one of the world’s best areas for growing Cabernet Sauvignon.

There are 35 different Cabernet Sauvignon blocks within the FAY vineyard and the blocks on the east side contribute characteristics that we ascribe to vines planted in soils born of volcanic origin or “Fire.” The berries are a bit smaller which leads to more concentration and structure. In the APOLOGUE bottling, Winemaker Nicki Pruss highlights a special area within the band of the fire-born soils that exists in the FAY vineyard.

Contrast this with the “water” or alluvial qualities found in the FAY vineyard soils where the Cabernet Sauvignon for the 2007 CHASE CREEK bottling were grown. Chase Creek, an offshoot of the Napa River, courses along the western edge of our S.L.V. and FAY vineyards. Over time, erosion diverted the creek from its natural course, and non-native plants took over the creek banks. We replaced these invasive growths with native plants, which attract beneficial insects and pest-fighting raptors, hawks, and owls. Bobcats and coyotes roam the riparian corridor adjacent to our vineyards and we’ve seen less soil erosion since the restoration—even after flooding in 2006. The healthier watershed helps us produce more vibrant, energetic wines.

The FAY Vineyard is where the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars story began. We encourage you to compare and contrast the 2007 Chase Creek and the 2007 FAY Apologue Cabernets to learn more about the subtleties of flavor and aroma that made the FAY Vineyard famous.