Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
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From steely-crisp and Chablis-like to unctuously layered with butter and oak – Chardonnay is known for its chameleon-like quality and ability take on a wide range of characteristics depending on the techniques winemakers use when crafting it.
Because wines are so dynamic – because they constantly change and evolve, particularly when they are young – the sensory evaluation of wine is a critical aspect of the winemaking process. For Winemaker Nicki Pruss, the task requires nearly all of her senses and a good deal of stamina, as she continually evaluates dozens of vineyard lots – kept separate throughout maturity – for color, aromas, flavors and textures. "I look at a wine as a whole entity, then dissect it by its component parts," says Nicki.
Breaking a healthy wine into bits is not destructive. It creates a clear picture of why favorites please and in what ways less agreeable bottles leave something to be desired. Useful sensory evaluation requires only a reliable vocabulary and a personal memory bank.
Although pulling a cork from a wine bottle is about as familiar and beloved a ritual as there is to a wine lover, not many of us stop to think about where these ingenious little bottle stoppers come from. Unlike money, cork really does grow on trees, made from the bark of what’s known as the Cork Oak or Quercus Suber L. Thriving in Mediterranean regions where hot, dry summer climates provide an ideal habitat, cork tree forests can be found predominantly in southern Portugal, Spain and northern Africa, where it’s estimated they cover over 6 million acres. And although cork oak trees grow in many places outside the Mediterranean, Portugal and Spain account for over 80% of the world’s cork production.
At Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, we believe that great wines are an expression of place, and that terroir (the sense of place) can only find its true voice through a process of meticulous choices. The alchemy that transforms grapes into fine wine is a combination of experience, science, instinct, and artistry. From the decision to pick a particular block to the moment new wine is transferred to our caves, every action, decision, and technique we employ is focused on a single goal: achieving the highest potential for each vintage.
Estate Wine Library
Visit our Estate Wine Library where we share the original tasting notes from the winery as well as notes and comments from our winemaking team and collectors based on tastings over the years.