Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
Stags Leap, Stags' Leap, or Stag's Leap: What's the difference
No, it isn’t a typographical error, and there really are three distinct entities bearing these strikingly similar names. The first of the names refers to the Stags Leap District, our designated American Viticultural Area (AVA); the second refers to our neighbor, Stags’ Leap Winery; and the third refers to us, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. The differences go beyond the location or the absence of the apostrophe.
All three names were inspired by the legend of a certain nimble stag of local Wappo Indian legend. One day, as hunters pursued a magnificent stag, the noble creature reached a large promontory in the palisades towering over the Napa Valley below. Trapped between the cliffs and the hunters, the stag paused, considered, then leapt across the chasm to safety. Having eluded the hunters, the stag’s boldness earned him the enduring admiration of his pursuers and their descendants for generations to come.
STAGS LEAP DISTRICT
Stags Leap District has been a designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) since 1989. Located in the eastern portion of the Napa Valley, along the Vaca Range, the mountains which border the Eastern side of the Napa Valley, the district is barely a mile wide and two miles long. It is among the smallest AVA in the Napa Valley, comprising of roughly 2,700 acres, only about half of which are planted to vineyards.
The Stags Leap District is strongly identified with its production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons, which owe much of their soft, yet powerful allure to the District’s terroir. One of the most important aspects of terroir is the soil, and Stags Leap District was the first viticultural area in the United States to be approved based on the distinctiveness of its soils, of which two main types predominate. Soils on the eastern elevation are the result of volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago, as well as the slow erosion of the arid Vaca Mountains. Over time, gravity and water force the volcanic rock debris down the hillsides and out across the valley floor, creating an alluvial fan. On the valley floor, water distributes the finer sediment, creating a blend of gravelly clay loam. These soils yield fruit that is characteristically soft, yet intense.
STAGS’ LEAP WINERY
The tale of the stag was also the inspiration for Stags’ Leap Winery, which is located within the Stags Leap District. Established in 1893 as a summer residence and resort, wine production began again in earnest when Stags’ Leap Winery was purchased in 1971 by Carl Doumani. Currently owned by Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine company, Stags’ Leap Winery is principally noted for its Petite Syrah.
STAG’S LEAP WINE CELLARS
Founded in 1970 in what is now known as the Stags Leap District. The winery first brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when its 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon won the 1976 Paris Tasting. Today, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is recognized for its Estate Cabernet Sauvignons, CASK 23, S.L.V., and FAY, which are among the most highly regarded and sought after Cabernets in the world.
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