2010 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Stags Leap District) 6-Pack
 
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Odette Vineyards, Stags Leap District Weak Knees in Stags Leap

In 1976, English wine merchant Steven Spurrier staged a blind taste-off that pitted Bordeaux First Growths against Napa Valley's most distinguished newcomers. The French cognoscenti laughed off Spurrier's show as pure hucksterism, little more than a crass publicity stunt. But when the votes were counted and the bottles disrobed, the owners of Chateaux Haut Brion, Mouton Rothschild and Leoville-Las Cases were left to wipe the egg off their faces. Warren Winiarski's 1973 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon had topped them all!

Ever since Spurrier's "Judgement in Paris," tiny Stags Leap has become the most coveted AVA in Napa Valley, annually turning out a handful of darkly concentrated, sleek Cabernet Sauvignons, each silken in texture, soft and sumptuous. For decades, barely an acre came up for sale. So, when the Silverado Trail rumor mill began to buzz with word of an impending purchase, heads turned from Pritchard Hill to Coombsville. The numbers quoted for the 36-acre ranch, set in the heart of the appellation, left us weak in the knees. Who was willing to pull the trigger, and more importantly, how many decades would it take to repay the investment?

When the Wine Spectator story hit the web that winter, the cat was out of the bag, and no one was worried about the buyers' short term ROI. Gavin Newsom and billionaire philanthropist Gordon Getty -- owners of high flying PlumpJack and CADE on Howell Mountain -- had purchased what many believe to be Stags Leaps' greatest Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. The new venture would be called Odette. Jeff Owens, the talented assistant winemaker at CADE, would be relocating to Stags Leap. The only question that remained was how the PlumpJack team would apply their Cabernet Sauvignon wizardry to the rocky soils of Stags Leap.

There's no reason to pose that question any more.

In the sensational 2010 growing season, a vintage that Robert Parker's Wine Advocate described as "epic," Odette crafted its first Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% of which was drawn from Stags Leap. Aptly dubbed "Adaptation," this is one of those Cabernet Sauvignons that reminds us why the "Judgement in Paris" left the owners of Haut Brion talking to themselves.

Up until 2011, 2010 was the coldest growing season in recent Napa Valley history. The summer was so chilly that many growers openly wondered if their Cabernet Sauvignon would ever ripen. Many panicked and de-leafed, exposing clusters to the sun, hoping to jumpstart maturity. All who did were punished during two torrid heat spikes at the end of the season.

But here in Stags Leap, where rocky soils stress vines to the max, growers stood pat. When mild temperatures and blue skies took over in September, the most sought after Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley reached magical phenolic maturity without any trace of sunburn or shrivel. Particularly at the new Odette Vineyard, it would be a vintage for the ages.

The 2010 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon is deep purple black in color, infused with luscious primary aromas of blackberry and black cherry preserves, a dash of violet, a lacing of new wood vanilla. Rich and lush on the attack, classically silken in texture, the core is plush, supple, and beautifully restrained. The finish is textbook Stags Leap -- soft and polished, with fine, ripe tannin backbone.

Drink now for its youthful opulence, or do as we're doing -- pop a cork this fall, then lay the rest down for 3-10 years. As the judges learned in Paris in 1976, these Stags Leap Cabernets have a way of sneaking up on you.



Tasting Notes

2010 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Stags Leap District)
"The 2010 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon is deep purple black in color, infused with luscious primary aromas of blackberry and black cherry preserves, a dash of violet, a lacing of new wood vanilla. Rich and lush on the attack, classically silken in texture, the core is plush, supple, and beautifully restrained. The finish is textbook is Stags Leap -- soft and polished, with fine, ripe tannin backbone. Drink now for its youthful opulence or lay down for 3-10 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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