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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "CASK 23" Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
(Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California) - [WA 95-97]

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About the Winery:
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, notably known for being the winery that won the Cabernet Sauvignon competition in the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris, was founded in 1970, and is considered a Napa Valley first-growth estate.

"Our signature style has often been described as “an iron fist in a velvet glove,” a reference to the artful balance between ripeness and restraint, softness and structure, that yields Napa Valley wines of exceptional beauty and long life. Achieving that style requires a level of attention to detail found only among the world’s best and most dedicated wine producers."

Tasting Notes:
The 2018 CASK 23 combines the signature perfume notes of FAY vineyard with the structure and dark fruit of S.L.V. The wine opens with complex and expressive aromas of dark fruits, currants and figs along with hints of floral spice, sandalwood and wet stone. The wine has a vibrant taste and texture with the winery’s classic “Peacock’s Tail” that expands in the mouth and leads to a lingering aftertaste and finish. Enjoy this CASK 23 with Chicken Marsala, Grilled Flank Steak with Plum Salsa, or Spiced Duck Breast with Wilted Arugula Risotto.

Food Pairing:
Enjoy with Dirty Rice and Andouille Sausage, Birria Beef Tacos, or Mushroom Ravioli with Arrabiata Sauce.

About this Wine

The story of CASK 23 began during the harvest of 1974. Back then, the winery enlisted the help of celebrated winemaker André Tchelistcheff. As he tasted through various lots of new wines from that year, one lot from S.L.V. was so beautiful and deliciously distinct the winery decided it should be bottled separately. It was named CASK 23 for the large wooden cask in which it was aged. Today, the wine is a blend of the most distinctive fruit from the S.L.V and FAY vineyards, resulting in a wine of extraordinary depth and richness balanced by restraint. Over the years, CASK 23 has become one of the most highly regarded and collected wines worldwide.

Vineyards & Winemaking:
CASK 23 is a tale of two vineyards that come together in a harmonious blend. For the 2018 offering, 54% of the fruit is from FAY Vineyard (blocks 8C2, 7B, 8C1, 9, 10A) and 46% from S.L.V. (blocks 3B, 2B, 1A). Specific blocks within these adjoining ranches provide distinct attributes to the wine. Vines planted in volcanic soils on the eastern hillsides of S.L.V. and FAY give CASK 23 its structure, concentration, spicy intensity and elegant tannins; those grown in the alluvial soils in the middle and lower sections of the two vineyards add vibrant fruit flavors, a supple mid-palate and perfumed aromatics.

After malolactic fermentation, the lees were stirred daily for several months to add richness to the wine. Each lot was vinified and aged separately for the first year allowing the characteristics of each block to develop, while adding subtle spice notes. In the second year of aging, the lots were blended together to let the flavors harmonize, becoming one in CASK 23. Overall, the wine was aged in small new French oak barrels for 24 months.

Technical Information

Harvest Dates: Sept. 20 – Oct. 19, 2018
Alcohol: 14.5%
pH: 3.64
TA: 0.55 g / 100 mL
Fermentation: 10% in French oak barrels (heads removed)
Malolactic Fermentation: 100%
Barrel Aging: 24 months; 100% new French oak
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Stags Leap District, Napa Valley (100% estate)
Release Date: May 2021
Cases Produced: 2,550

Ratings & Reviews

95-97+ Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"The 2018 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep garnet-purple color and vivacious notes of stewed black plums, boysenberries and blackcurrant pastilles with suggestions of tobacco leaf, beef drippings and dried Provence herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is refreshing and elegantly styled, featuring a line of finely grained tannins to support the delicate black fruit layers, finishing on a minerally note." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (2/26/2021)