Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting with the Creation of a “Judgment of Paris Seal” for Its Iconic Cabernet Sauvignons

May 24 2011

On the 35th Anniversary of the 1976 Paris Tasting, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars announces the creation of a unique “Judgment of Paris Seal” for its iconic Cabernet Sauvignons. The Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon took top honors among the red wines at the historic Judgment of Paris tasting that took place on May 24, 1976.

The Judgment of Paris Seal is a circular emblem with the words “Estate Winner Paris Tasting 1976” surrounded by an olive branch wreath, which in Ancient Greece symbolized victory. The commemorative design will debut on the 2009 vintage of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars FAY, S.L.V., CASK 23 and ARTEMIS Cabernet Sauvignon. This seal of authenticity reinforces the winery’s heritage as the winner of the Paris Tasting and will aid consumers in identifying the wines of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in fine wine shops and at restaurants.

“Anniversaries are fitting times to reflect back and to look forward,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “The Paris Tasting was a defining milestone for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the entire California wine industry and this iconic emblem pays homage to this rich history.”

Since acquiring Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 2007, the Antinori family of Tuscany and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates of Washington have focused on preserving the legacy of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars while setting the bar even higher for the next 35+ years. Investments have been made at the facility and in the vineyards to ensure that Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars remains one of America’s benchmark producers.

This fall, Winemaker Nicki Pruss will be releasing the 2008 estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons—CASK 23, S.L.V. and FAY. These 2008 vintage wines are the first to be completely grown, made and bottled under this new partnership. The 2008 vintage also marks the 35th Anniversary of the winning 1973 vintage at the 1976 Paris Tasting. “I’m very excited about the release of our 2008 estate-grown Cabernets,” said Nicki Pruss. “With these wines we’ve enhanced the purity of fruit from this incredible estate while retaining the balance, elegance and restraint that have made our wines some of the most highly regarded and collected worldwide.”

Background on the 1976 Paris Tasting: In the early 1970s, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars was a small, family-run winery that was little known outside the Napa Valley. That changed, however, on May 24, 1976 when French wine experts judged, in a blind tasting, that two California wines were as good as, or better than, the best wines of France. In what is now referred to as the historic “Paris Tasting,” the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon took top honors among the reds, triumphing over two first-growth and other renowned wines of Bordeaux. The surprise win was covered by TIME magazine and picked up by media around the world. The story of “The Judgment of Paris” brought international recognition to the Napa Valley and to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

Twenty years after the Paris Tasting, in the spring of 1996, the Smithsonian Institution created a display documenting the Paris Tasting and the story of wine’s coming of age in North America. The winning red and white wines of the 1976 tasting are now part of the permanent collection in the National Museum of American History.

About Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars From the beginning, the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars vision has been to create wines that speak of the place from which they come, with distinctive elements of aroma, flavor and texture. These goals are realized in our three limited-production estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons – CASK 23, S.L.V. and FAY—which are crafted from vineyards surrounding the winery, and in our single vineyard Chardonnay from ARCADIA VINEYARD located at the foot of Mt. George. The same classic style of the Estate and Single Vineyard Collection is also expressed in the Napa Valley Collection, which includes KARIA Chardonnay and ARTEMIS Cabernet Sauvignon.

More information about Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the historic Paris Tasting can be found on www.CASK23.com.

For further information:
Jennifer Scott, Director of Communications
425/415-3354
jennifer.j.scott@smwe.com