A “Stone’s Throw” from Winiarski’s World-Beater
The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley was considered a “dream vintage” as described by Wine Spectator, which said it can boast “quality along the lines of 2012 and 2013,” which also were exceptional vintages. Nowhere was this more evident than in Stags Leap, on the precious hillsides along the Silverado Trail. When we first spoke to Chad about the 2014 vintage, he could barely contain himself. “I haven’t seen Stags Leap Cabernet so bold, sappy, and age-worthy in 40 years. The last time was probably ‘76, when Winiarski outpointed Haut-Brion and Mouton Rothschild at the Judgment of Paris.” Then he told us that his 2014 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from one of the most historic estates in the district, a “stone’s throw” from where Winiarski grew that ‘76 Cab. At the estate, a bottle of Cabernet goes for $75. Compare that to Chad’s $27 beauty, which stands shoulder to shoulder in quality, boasting the same finely delineated palate, luscious black fruit, and sturdy Stags Leap backbone. A equally breathtaking wine, at a fraction of the cost.
So how did Chad do it? The story goes back to 2008 when the economy was on its heels and Chad’s winemaker buddies needed help with their inventory. Chad found a way to help, purchasing a barrel or two of prized estate-grown juice and bottling it under Chad. Since the release of the 2009s, we have featured over 20 small lots of Chad Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and while the economy is now back on its feet, Chad’s buddies haven’t forgotten him. When there are grapes or juice to be spared, their first call goes to Chad.
Such was the case with the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap. While we can’t mention the exact source of the fruit — we signed a nondisclosure agreement — we can assure you that the gorgeous bouquet of cassis, blackberry and licorice; the weighty palate, loaded with dark fruit preserves and sweet creme de cassis; the classic Stags Leap backbone; and the mile-long finish, will answer any questions you might have.