Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (not to be confused with Stags’ Leap Winery) is located a few miles north of the town of Napa in Napa Valley, California. The winery may be best known for the 1976 Paris Tasting in which their 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon was declared number one, ahead of many prestigious French wines. Today, their current releases include four single vineyard wines (one Chardonnay and three Cabernet Sauvignons), as well as four Napa Valley blends (a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, a Chardonnay, and a Sauvignon Blanc).
The 2009 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc was 74% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Musque, and 6% Semillion. The wine was fermented in a combination of French oak barrels (65%) and stainless steel tanks (35%). The barrel aging took place over 6 months in 100% old French oak. The label listed ABV was 13.5%.
I had originally purchased two bottles for International Sauvignon Blanc Day on the 21st of June, 2012. The first was Cloudy Bay, which didn’t turn out very well. This Stag’s Leap was the other. I was unsure which to open for Sauvignon Blanc Day and I chose the Cloudy Bay.
After that experience, I was afraid to open the Stag’s Leap. Every time I looked at the bottle, I thought Sauvignon Blaaah. What was I going to do with this wine? Summoning up all the courage in my taste buds, I uncorked the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars bottle.
– Taken by me at a local tavern in June 2012.
On the 28th of June 2012, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in New York City hosted a winemaker dinner for Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. Attending from the wineries were David Duncan, President and CEO, and Daniel Baron, the head winemaker. The dinner was part of the Silver Oak Tower Tour 2012, celebrating 40 years of Cabernet Sauvignon production by Silver Oak.
Silver Oak produces two Cabernet Sauvignons. One is produced with grapes harvested from Napa Valley, while the other uses grapes from Alexander Valley. The Duncan family, Silver Oak’s owners, established Twomey in 1999 when they acquired the Soda Canyon Ranch in Napa Valley. Twomey Cellars produces a Merlot, four types of Pinot Noir, and a Sauvignon Blanc.
I found out about the wine dinner by way of my neighbors, who asked if there would be interest in attending. Let’s see…Del Frisco’s, second best steakhouse in New York City, check. Silver Oak, premier producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, check. Great wine and great food with great friends, check. That decision didn’t take very long.
Cloudy Bay Vineyards is located in the town of Blenheim in the Marlborough section of New Zealand. The winery produces two Sauvignon Blancs, a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, and a sparkling wine.
The 2011 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc was 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks for 3 to 5 months. The label listed ABV was 13.5%.
The 21st of June 2012 was International Sauvignon Blanc day. For the occasion, I set out to find a suitable bottle for consumption. I couldn’t recall drinking a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, so I decided to give the Cloudy Bay a try.
We really do need more wine holidays.
Salt Creek Grille, in Rumson, NJ, hosted a wine dinner featuring Duckhorn Vineyards on the 12th of April, 2012.
When it was founded, 30 years ago, Duckhorn, based in Napa, California, initially focused on Bordeaux varietals, with specific attention on Merlot. Today, the winery produces a wide range of reds, whites, and blends, with grapes sourced not only from Napa, but from neighboring Sonoma Valley as well.
Wine dinners are always interesting events. Each restaurant has their own thoughts on how it should be done, and no two are alike. Many places pour wine freely, while others limit you to an ounce or two (boo). Some establishments change their format from time to time (which can be so annoying when you like their previous format and set your expectations!). The social aspect is also always up for grabs. If you are not with a group, you never know who will be seated near/next to you. I have sat next to novices, who were much more knowledgeable than I. I have sat with novices, who were self-proclaimed experts (but were obviously not). I have sat with experts, who were very willing to educate those around them. I have sat with connoisseurs, who did not care to share their thoughts (but they usually do by the end of the evening!). Essentially, it is a wild card, but the event (read: the wine) is always interesting.
Overall, Salt Creek Grille did a good job with the evening.
Joe Bastianich’s vineyards have produced this white blend from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy.
The wine is 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Picolit. It spends 50% of its aging in oak and 50% in stainless steel.
For me, Vespa Bianco is a bit too Chardonnay-ish.