Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Collector’s Corner

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

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Notes From the Napa Valley 2010 Harvest

It was slow to start, with heavy spring rains, and a very cool summer. A summer long on sweaters and short on, well, shorts. A season delayed by 2-3 weeks and a lot of bets that the last grapes would be greeted at the weigh station by Thanksgiving turkeys. There was a high incidence of mildew in specific locations throughout the North Coast and the ensuing leafing in the fruit zone for exposure to more sunshine was meant to help maturity. Then Mother Nature was fickle and drenched the vineyards in a searing heat. The mildew was abated, but the sunburn and berry shriveling were now the issue. There was a lot of hand-wringing and grumbling, some were convinced that swarms of locust would arrive any minute. Some veterans were saying, "Never seen anything like this before" and "we'll never be able to get all these grapes in before the rainy season."

Tsunami was the word of the year. And then, the second heat spell. After a much longer time on the vine than most years, all of the grapes were ready at once. Tsunami was the word of the year.

So how is the quality? One would assume that with a season full of trepidation and angst, lack of heat and slow maturity, the outcome would be questionable. And for some varieties and cooler locations, that may be true. But not so here at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and other top Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon estates. Although the tanks are still finishing their fermentation and the full character has yet to develop, the potential the wines are showing is superlative. Deep color, great extraction and fuller flavors at lower alcohols-- a combination that aptly suits our house style. Now the comments among our colleagues are more like, "Wow, unbelievable quality, who would have thought it?' and "It just goes to show, never be too quick to judge the end by the beginning."