Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 2005 Sauvignon Blanc  (Napa Valley)

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

2005 Sauvignon Blanc
(Napa Valley)

When one thinks of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon especially comes to mind, and in particular, the signal Paris tasting of 1976 in which Warren Winiarski’s Cab beat the French in the red wine category. But I’ll bet not many think of Stag’s Leap (or for that matter, the Napa Valley) producing world-class Sauvignon Blancs since the 1980s. (The new-oak induced Chardonnay-like Sauvignons that were the norm from the valley in the ‘90s, thank goodness, are a thing of the past.)

Thus, better to start thinking white, otherwise you’ll miss out on some of these wines that are usually a little brighter and lush than their New Zealand and Sancerre counterparts. With this edition from Stag’s Leap, we have a great, finely tuned Sauvignon Blanc with Kiwi-like grassiness, with Sancerre-like balance, and with the lushness and brightness that only the Napa Valley can produce.

The winery’s B.R.V. vineyard on Big Ranch Road contributes the majority of fruit to this blend, supplemented by grapes from the Rancho Chimiles Vineyard of Terrence Wilson, and other growers. B.R.V., just north of the town of Napa, runs alongside the Napa River and is planted to both Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Musque, an aromatic clonal variant originally from Bordeaux.

The rounded flavors of B.R.V. are augmented by the fruit from Rancho Chimiles, which has closer proximity to San Pablo Bay, and therefore its fruit is leaner and more structured, contributing citrus and acidity. Eighty-one percent of the blend is sur lies aged for six months in third- and fourth-fill French oak barrels, with no malolactic fermentation. The listed alcohol is 13.5 percent.

Reviewed June 20, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

The Wine

Winery: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Napa Valley
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc (96%), Semillon (4%)
Price: 750ml $22.00

Review Date: 6/20/2006

The Reviewer

Alan Goldfarb

Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.