Stags’ Leap The Investor Napa Valley Red Wine 2015

Deep ruby color; red fruits, blueberries, whiff of oak on the nose; red fruits, plum, blackberry, blueberry, touch of blackcurrant and chocolate on the palate.

Stags’ Leap The Investor Napa Valley Red Wine 2015

Dry; full body, very fine-grained, silky tannins. Blend of petite sirah, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and malbec; the petite sirah aged 18 months in American oak, 25% new, while the other grapes age in French oak, 35% new. The final assemblage is blended at bottling. Sophisticated blend by winemaker Christophe Paubert that delivers rich, ripe fruit but thankfully avoids jammy and ostentatious oak. Delicious, superb balance, savory, excellent palate pleaser.

Stags’ Leap is one of California’s oldest wineries. Horace Chase partnered with his uncle, W.W. Thompson, to found the estate on land where grapes has been planted by T.L. Grigsby in the 1880s. The manor house was built in 1890 and the first vintage was produced in 1893.

Stags’ Leap Winery Manor House

The Chase family got the Stags Leap name from a native Wappo legend of a stag leaping to escape Native American hunters. The mountains behind the property on the eastern side are known as the Stags Leap Palisades. While wine production was interrupted for extended periods—especially during Prohibition—wine grapes have been grown on the property continuously since its founding.

After 64 years of non-wine making (while still growing grapes for others), Carl Doumani resumed wine production at Stags’ Leap in 1972. In 2009, Christophe Paubert joined Stags’ Leap as head winemaker.

Today, Stags’ Leap is owned by Treasury Wine Estates, a major international player in the wine world, making wine in 12 countries, selling more than 35 million cases of wine a year, and generating sales of more than $2 billion. Labels you may recognize beyond Stags’ Leap include Sterling Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyard, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Greg Norman Estates, Lindeman’s, Wolf Blass, and Treasury’s flagship—Penfolds.

There also is a Stag’s Leap winery, notice the placement of the placement of the apostrophe. That winery won the Judgment of Paris in 1976 and now is owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estate and Marchesi Antinori and is not connected to Stags’ Leap that made this wine. Both wineries are in the Stags Leap (note: no apostrophe) district of Napa. Hey, its wine so it can’t be simple.

Stags’ Leap The Investor Napa Valley Red Wine 2015 is excellent, tasty red blend, a Bordeaux-style with a California twist (the petite sirah). Its tamed tannins and delicious fruit should please folks frightened by big California cabs, or big red wines in general. The core adjective to describe this is “delicious.” Easy drinker, mellow merlot, some structure and complexity, but not complicated. Well worth a cork pull. Pair with mushroom ragout, scallion pest and pan-seared polenta; will work with grilled red meats, but its softness and finesse works better with less aggressively flavored meats like pork tenderloin and filet mignon. Pretty good just sipped with wine crackers and cheese cubes, too. $45-55

Stags’ Leap website

Stags’ Leap Winery alley
Stags’ Leap Winery vineyard
Wine harvest at Stags’ Leap
Stags’ Leap winemaker Christophe Paubert
Stags’ Leap Winery Bocce