There aren't many truly legendary names in the wine world but Stag's Leap Wine Cellars must be one of the few to be on such a list, if one exists. They came to fame on the arrival of the Judgement of Paris tasting held by English wine critic and journalist in 1976. The idea behind the tasting was to pit some of California's best, at the time, against some of the best of France. They put both Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons in the test of time. Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from unknown, to those outside of California, producers were up against some of the biggest names in Bordeaux and Burgundy, respectively.
With all French wine experts as judges you would expect the French wines to win, right? That is exactly what everyone else thought too. Lo and behold the yanks came out on top in both categories. Chateau Montelena, eternalised in the brilliant Alan Rickman film: Bottle Shock, won the Chardonnay section and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars got the trophy for the Cabernet Sauvignons.
Sadly we have yet to get any Chateau Montelena to NZ shores but we do however have some Stag's Leap's Cabernet Sauvignons. And they are all mighty tasty as well as impeccably made. Their selection contains two blends and two single vineyards. The single vineyards are the FAY and S.L.V. vineyards. The S.L.V. vineyard wine was the one that won the Judgement of Paris tasting - click here to see the 40th anniversary bottling commemorating the tasting in 1976.
The two blends are the Cask 23 and the Artemis. The Cask 23 is made of, if you couldn't tell by the name, the top 23 casks, or barrels, selected from the two single vineyards. The Artemis, however, is made from the a portion of the two single vineyards and supplemented with their other Stag's Leap estate vineyard right next door. All of the wines are absolutely sublime and worth every penny. Not cheap but brilliance like this doesn't come along every day....
Also for your viewing pleasure check out this video about the 2013 vintage at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.