Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
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Have you ever sat down on a sweltering day to sip a refreshing glass of acid? Few things sound less appetizing, but acidity is an important and distinctive component of wine. Too little of the naturally occurring acidity in wine grapes, and Chardonnay tastes "flabby" and dull, while Sauvignon Blanc tastes like a flat soda, and Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like soap. Too much acidity, and wine tastes sour, excessively tart or harsh. Proper levels of acidity give wine its zing, its zip, its crisp character, its food-friendliness, and its age worthiness.
Certain smells articulate a wine’s beginnings with particular clarity. Flowering grapevines delicately perfume the spring; the heady scent of fermenting grape juice marks the fall. Winter offers my favorite smell. In the wine caves, aromas of Cabernet Sauvignon permeate oak barrels, contrasting powerfully with the cold, crisp, almost sterile air of winter— a visceral reminder that the barrels house a living, breathing product of the grape and a preservation of summer’s abundance. The magnificent blend of toasty oak and ripe, berry aromas is so evocative that it regularly elicits gasps of appreciation from visitors.
A recreation of the famous 1976 Paris Tasting was held at this year’s Expovinis Brazil International Wine Fair, with the results soundly repeating the original tasting.
Take a sip of over-steeped tea. Now taste a fine Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The drying, bitter sensation from the tea is due to tannin—the same organic compound that gives the wine a firm structure and long, beautiful finish.
The association of wood and wine goes back a very long time. Herodotus recorded the use of wooden barrels as wine containers as early as seventh century B.C., and for most of wine’s history, barrels were the containers of choice for storage and transportation. Over time, winemakers began to also value barrels’ ability to change the taste of the wine inside. Oak barrels came to be favored for imbuing wine with tastes ranging from vanilla, spice, coffee, and caramel to cedar, smoke, and leather.
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.