Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet 2015

Bottle Size: 750 ml

The 2015 Stags Leap District Cabernet shows all of the concentration and depth of the vintage in its exuberant and concentrated nose of cassis, black slate, jasmine, and warm fig aromas. Fresh aromas of black currant, crushed blackberries, and warm cherry soar with spice layers of clove, ancho chile, and cinnamon. The long opulent palate tastes of liquefied minerals and possesses a voluptuous raspberry liqueur-like texture with precise, building tannin that intertwine seamlessly with the luxurious flavors.

A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Merlot, 7% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District offers up a cassis, smoked meat, blackberry preserves and spice cake-scented nose with a mocha hint. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated with firm, grainy tannins, it shows a lot of oak, which should marry with the intense fruit, finishing long and layered.” 93 | Wine Advocate

Vineyard Notes
The fruit was sourced from the hillside terraces of our Poetry Vineyard, our Twin Peaks Vineyard estate surrounding the winery, and a few neighboring vineyards in the Stags Leap District. The wine is composed of small lots from our best blocks, representing a diverse range of carefully selected clones and rootstocks. From Poetry’s exposed, rocky terraces boasting volcanic origins, to the ancient riverbed alluvial soils of Twin Peaks, the breadth of contributing sites translates into a wine of impressive complexity.

Production Notes
Grapes were picked in the darkness of the early morning hours. The freshly-harvested fruit immediately underwent rigorous selection by our three-tiered sorting process, which included our cutting-edge optical sorter. Whole berries were gently delivered by gravity to tank using our crane system, minimizing disruption of berry integrity. Cold soaks lasted approximately seven days, and fermentations were managed via a combination of délestage, pumpovers, and punchdowns. Extended maceration ranging from four to five weeks fine-tuned our tannin profiles, allowing us to perfect mouth feel and wine complexity. The wine was aged in French oak barrels, 80% of which were new, for twenty-one months.z

Winemaker Notes
The 2015 Stags Leap District Cabernet shows all of the concentration and depth of the vintage in its exuberant and concentrated nose of cassis, black slate, jasmine, and warm fig aromas. Fresh aromas of black currant, crushed blackberries, and warm cherry soar with spice layers of clove, ancho chile, and cinnamon. The long opulent palate tastes of liquefied minerals and possesses a voluptuous raspberry liqueur-like texture with precise, building tannin that intertwine seamlessly with the luxurious flavors.

Wine Specs
Appellation: Stags Leap District
Bottling Date: July 2017
Alcohol %: 15.0

Cliff Lede Vineyards is a winery located in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, California. It was established in 2002 by Canadian Cliff Lede, and produces wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The most famous wine is the flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, Poetry.

When Lede bought the property, he asked famed viticulturalist David Abreu to replant the 24 hectares (60 acres) of vineyards. These vineyards cover steep slopes in the Stags Leap AVA, and are planted on shallow volcanic soils that stress the vines and result in concentrated, complex fruit. The estate is made up of two vineyards, the Poetry vineyard and the Twin Peaks vineyard, and each are separated into blocks named after some of Lede's favorite songs and albums – giving them the nickname the "Rock Blocks". In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, a tiny amount of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is grown as well.

The Cliff Lede winery was completed in 2005. Grapes are hand-sorted then evaluated by a Pellenc optical sorting machine, which only selects the grapes that are within the parameters set by the winemaker. The grapes are fermented in tanks based on the design of Chateau Latour, before being aged in new French oak. The Sauvignon Blanc is fermented in concrete eggs, giving a distinct minerality to the finished wines.

The wines regularly receive good reviews from the press, with the American wine critic Robert Parker calling the Cabernet Sauvignon "bottled perfection" and awarding the 2013 vintage with 100 points.

Cliff Lede, Owner

Since founding his namesake winery in 2002, Cliff Lede (pronounced lay-dee) has put every emphasis towards creating a modern and diversified world-class estate. A strategic thinker and visionary, Lede is the driving force of a company that at once holds the values of the great Old World winemaking properties, with the energy, youth and spark of the New World. His wines are intrinsically connected to the land, yet his view point is forward-thinking and entirely fresh. < LESS
One visit to the Cliff Lede Vineyards property, which is full of contemporary art and is juxtaposed with vineyard blocks named for classic rock songs, and it is clear that to him, wine—like music and art—is a source of great beauty.

Lede grew up involved with his family’s successful construction business in Canada, and first discovered the splendor of the Napa Valley while on a business retreat in the 1990s. An avid long-distance runner, he explored the back roads of Napa Valley throughout his trip. The area resonated a great deal with him, as he had collected Bordeaux wines since his late 20s. Frequent return visits ensued, and he was soon exposed to everything Napa Valley has to offer: beautiful land, some of the world’s greatest restaurants and a core of friendly, passionate and hardworking people that reminded him of his own community.

Lede soon began searching for a property in Napa where he could start a winery. Determined to plant his roots in the Stags Leap District for its complex and age-worthy wines, he remained patient and focused.

Upon learning that a Stags Leap District estate was for sale, Cliff recognized the opportunity and, after months of negotiations, established Cliff Lede Vineyards. One year later, the southwest facing hillside just above the Silverado Trail became available. Following the acquisition of the rare hillside property, Cliff named it the Poetry Vineyard. In 2005, he opened Poetry Inn, one of Napa’s most secluded luxury boutique hotels, perched high above the valley floor overlooking the winery and vineyards. In 2009, he expanded to include cooler-climate varieties from the Anderson Valley as his love for creating things led to the purchase of the Savoy Vineyard and the creation of a new brand, FEL, named for his mother, Florence Elsie Lede.

Christopher Tynan, Winemaker, Cliff Lede and Poetry

Christopher’s self-taught, avant-garde approach to winemaking is a style that pays tribute to both tradition and innovation. His exacting philosophy of only employing low-yield vines from select sites, and minimal intervention in the winery, ensures that each bottle expresses the distinct nuances of each
site, block and vintage. Still early in his career, it is these philosophies that have guided him to help forge nine wines rated 100 points by esteemed critic Robert Parker.

Born in New York and raised in Texas, Christopher Tynan began his wine career in the vineyard, working summers doing irrigation management for vineyards across Napa and Sonoma counties. Following a harvest at Cain Vineyard & Winery in 2004, he was given an opportunity to work the 2005 harvest with the renowned winemaking and viticulture team of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer at Blankiet Estate in Yountville. In 2006, Christopher became the assistant winemaker at the prestigious Colgin Cellars on Pritchard Hill. At Colgin, Christopher worked closely with Vintner Ann Colgin, Winemaker Allison Tauziet and Vineyard Manager David Abreu for the next five years. It was here where he learned and embodied the standard for excellence in all aspects of winemaking and viticulture.

In 2012, Christopher was introduced to Cliff Lede by David Abreu and joined the Cliff Lede Vineyards team shortly thereafter. Christopher brings an unmatched passion and fervent attention to detail to the Lede Family Wines team. Christopher has a degree in English and Art History from Texas State University and in his free time enjoys collecting wine and traveling.

Stags Leap District, in California's Napa Valley wine region, is home to some of the United States' most famous and highly regarded wineries. The vineyards here are overwhelmingly dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes rich red wines combining ripe blackcurrant flavors, a certain freshness and elegance, and well-structured tannins.

Located immediately north of Napa town, Stags Leap is in a very particular spot on the valley's eastern side. It occupies a narrow, strip of the valley floor sectioned off from the main valley by a range of small hills running roughly north to south. These form the district's western edge and separate it from Yountville. The AVA (American Viticultural Area) is just three miles long and one mile wide, and covers 1100 hectares (2700 acres), making it one of America's smallest. Determined not to waste any of this precious real estate, the 19 Stags Leap wineries have covered the valley floor with a dense patchwork of vineyards, broken only by access roads and winery buildings.

The Stags Leap name comes from the legend that a great stag, being pursued by hunters, made a seemingly impossible leap between the two rocky peaks that sit high above the valley. This name has been a source of some controversy – specifically the absent possessive apostrophe. Two producers founded in the 1970s – Stags' Leap Winery (now as well known for its Petite Sirah as for its Cabernet Sauvignon) and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (founded by Warren Winiarski) – came to legal blows in the mid-1980s over the name, with the former accused of benefitting from the publicity gained by the latter in the infamous Judgement of Paris tasting. The ruling was that each would keep the Stags Leap name, each with a distinct apostrophe placement. In the late 1980s, the two producers banded together to fight the creation of the official Stags Leap District in 1989, with the outcome that the AVA would eschew the apostrophe altogether.

Beyond the two wineries that share the district's name, a number of other world-class wineries are based here. Shafer Vineyards, Chimney Rock and Clos du Val are all based in the AVA's bounds, and numerous wineries from around California, including Robert Mondavi and Martin Ray, make wines that bear the Stags Leap name. The area's reputation has grown steadily since the 1970s, when a Cabernet Sauvignon wine made by Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was named the top red wine in the landmark Judgment of Paris tasting, beating out the likes of Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion.

When the application was made for an official Stags Leap AVA title (which was granted in 1989), a great deal of emphasis was put on the area's geology, which is made up of alluvial and colluvial soils underpinned by clay and volcanic substrata. These loose, free-draining soils force the Cabernet vines to grow strong, deep roots, ultimately leading to healthier vines and higher-quality fruit. Climate also plays a key role – located 15 miles (24km) from the northern edge of San Pablo Bay, the AVA is well placed to receive cool, moist breezes that blow northwards up the valley from San Pablo Bay. These bring the famous Napa Valley fog rolling in on summer mornings and afternoons, which provides refreshing relief from the otherwise hot, dry days.


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