Concentrated, with beautiful blue, red and black fruits, spring flowers, a touch of toasty oak, relatively noticeable tannin and a full-bodied, multi-layered mouthfeel.
In the third week of May 2012, at Sir Peter Michael’s restaurant in Berkshire, British wine merchant Steven Spurrier unveiled a painting depicting the moment when a panel of wine experts (nearly all of whom were French) assembled in Spurrier’s wine shop discovered that they had unwittingly rated a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon higher than the 1970 Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1970 Haut-Brion, 1970 Château Montrose, and 1971 Château Léoville-Las Cases.
The painting includes Sir Peter and Spurrier, along with the 10 other judges, some of whom (guess the nationality!) subsequently WITHDREW their ballots! The panel included Pierre Brejoux of the INAO; Claude Dubois-Millot; Michel Dovaz and Patricia Gallagher of l’Académie du Vin; Odette Kahn, editor of La Revue du vin de France; restaurateur Raymond Olivier of Le Grand Véfour; Pierre Tari of Château Giscours; sommelier Christian Vannequé of Tour d’Argent; Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti; and Jean-Claude Vrinat of the restaurant Taillevent. Also depicted is George Taber, the Time magazine reporter who shared the story with the world.
The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon whose surprise first-place finish so stunned the experts at what Decanter Magazine called “the tasting that shocked the wine world” was Warren Winiarski’s 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Forty years later, Winiarski poured salt on old wounds crafting the richest, most complex, and most age-worthy “Cask 23” ever — a bottle that truly puts to shame EVERY First Growth of the same year.
The 2013 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 is brilliant purple-black. Gorgeous mineral aromas of crushed black fruits, graphite, and violets, bracketed by new-wood cedar. Rich, ripe, bold, and intensely concentrated, yet also tightly wound, slowly unwinding after three hours in an oversized Riedel stem, finishing with the sneaky tannin backbone that allows one of Napa Valley’s greatest Cabernets to age gracefully for decades.
99 points after Parker’s recent upgrade. 100 bottles will disappear in a flash, but those of you who strike quickly will have 30+ years to pop the cork. $270/bottle.
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