I’ve a real soft spot for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. An eye-opening spell there in the late 80s as a cellar rat was inspirational. The denim-clad, cool-as-hell winemakers swaggered about the stainless steel and the French barriques in their freshly minted wine cellars with an insouciant Californian air that belied their competitive ambition. The place was run with steely determination by founder Warren Winiarski, a political theorist at the University of Chicago, who moved west to become a winemaker in the mid 1960s, establishing the property in 1970. The small boutique winery became synonymous with the seismic Paris tasting of 1976, an event fictionalized in Bottle Shock [starring the late, great Alan Rickman]. The Stag’s Leap 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, from a vines just three years old, was voted best red by a panel of French judges. In a blind tasting, the wine felled mighty Bordeaux châteaux Haut-Brion, Mouton-Rothschild, Léoville-Las-Cases and Montrose, not to mention domestic competitors Ridge and Heitz. The tasting put Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the Napa Valley on the map.
Posts Tagged ‘Antinori’
At Vinexpo earlier this year I had the opportunity to taste twenty-nine Brunello di Montalcino wines from the 2008 vintage and eight Riservas from the 2007 vintage. I’m a student when it comes to Brunello and the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino offered a great opportunity to get down and dirty with the wines. There’s a lot to appreciate here. The best show balance, structure and acidity, with warmth and alcoholic punch. Not as dark as young Bordeaux, the thinner-skinned Sangiovese having less colouring matter than Cabernet and its relatives, the grape still provides Brunello di Montalcino with plenty of depth, sap and chew on the palate. When the balance is right there is a fascinating tension between the power, the warmth and the bite. I focus in this post on 2008 Brunellos, with thoughts on the 2007 Riservas up next.