- Item #: i_276190Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste."
"A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2013 Syrah Royal City is as expansive, sexy and voluptuous as they get in the vintage, hands down. It's deep ruby/purple color is followed by incredible notes of wild herbs, lavender, gamey meats, olive paste and sweet dark berry fruits. Full-bodied, relatively forward and charming, it still packs a wealth of material and has building tannin, all suggesting it will drink nicely for 10-15 years."
- Item #: i_265200Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 99Vinous Media: 96It was nearly 40 years ago when Stags Leap Wine Cellars won the famed Paris Tasting of 1976 and help to skyrocket Napa Valley Cabernets to stardom across the world! Flash forward to today, and you will find that this "blue chip" producer is not resting on its laurels. No, they are still pushing to put every little bit of complexity, nuance, and finesse into their Cabernet Sauvignons that they possibly can. Combine this with Napa's highly-praised and eagerly-anticipated 2013 vintage, and you've got some amazing wines!
The signature style for Stags Leap Wine Cellars has often been described as "an iron fist in a velvet glove," a reference to the artful balance-between ripeness and restraint, softness and structure—that yields wines of exceptional beauty and long life. Achieving that style requires a level of attention to detail found only among the world's most dedicated wine producers. In addition, Stags Leap picks in small lots to maintain the identity of the vineyards, age the wine exclusively in French oak, and their vineyard team works carefully on a vine-by-vine basis, rather than the more typical agricultural approach where farming decisions are made on a field basis. In addition, Stags Leap Wine Cellars focuses on sustainable farming, even receiving "Napa Green Certified Land" certification for their three estate vineyards, and "Napa Green Certified Winery" for the winery. Napa Green is the wine industry's most comprehensive "best practices" in land-use and wine production.
ROBERT PARKER 99 POINTS - "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 ratchets up the level of complexity, richness and density. Magnificent floral notes intermix with blueberry, blackberry and cassis, and there is no hint of new oak. A full-bodied opulence on the palate, great purity and personality make for a prodigious example of Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 30+ years. Kudos to Stags Leap Wine Cellars."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "New owner Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with minority partner Antinori, has done a magnificent job with these 2013s. In fact, the wines are so brilliant and such a significant departure from the past that I tasted through the range twice. New winemaker Marcus Notaro has introduced a more contemporary, fruit-driven style at Stag's Leap. More importantly, these 2013s show none of the flaws that marred some wines in the past. Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see where things go, but one thing is clear; the three flagship Cabernets are all fabulous."
"The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon CASK 23 is another total knock-out from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Sculpted and nuanced, the 2013 presents a striking melange of typical Stags Leap notes. Violets, lavender, mint, cloves, graphite and dark spice are some of the signatures in a Cabernet that achieves a compelling balance of power, finesse and overall intensity. This tightly coiled Cabernet is going to need a few years to fully come together, but it is terrific and a great example of what Stags Leap Cabernets are all about."
- Item #: i_287830Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Vinous Media: 95ROBERT PARKER 96 POINTS - "I had the privilege to taste this new estate vineyard wine from Christian Moueix several months before the 2012 would be released. Moueix purchased the old Schmidt Ranch, which is just to the north of his iconic Napanook vineyard. The AVA is different, as he is on the southern border of the Oakville appellation. This is pure valley floor soil with great drainage, just to the south of Martha's Vineyard and the famous To Kalon of both Mondavi and Andy Beckstoffer. Several vintages have been made, but not yet released. The first official release is the 2012. This is a completely different style of wine than those produced at Dominus. While the property is much smaller (40 acres vs. the very large Napanook vineyard), a similar elevage is employed, with 40% to 50% new French oak, and bottling after the wine spends 20 months in wood. Moueix told me that the site, even though it is so close to Napanook, is warmer in the summer by several degrees and colder in the winter, Additionally, the soils are deeper. What Moueix has done is produce a wine that is in complete contrast to Dominus. The wines of Dominus are known for their silky complexity, and even though there is virtually no Merlot in any of the top vintages, they always have an almost Pomerol-like lushness and opulence. Ulysses, on the other hand, is a Napa version of a first or second growth Pauillac. The crème de cassis, the licorice, the purity and the graphite notes are present in all three of these vintages, just in varying degrees."
"The 2013 Ulysses is absolutely mind-boggling, as so many wines from this vintage are. Gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruit, along with the telltale cassis and floral notes, jump from the glass. Again, this is Pauillac-like, with some cedar wood and subtle barrique smells. Again produced nearly all from Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is full-bodied, powerful, rich and long, with slightly sweeter tannins than the 2012. Production in 2013 was 960 cases, and Moueix told me that the entire growing season averaged about two and half weeks ahead of schedule from bloom break to harvest. This is a prodigious effort and will certainly stand as the great Ulysses of the first trio to be released. I suspect it will be drinkable in 3-4 years and keep for 30 or more, given the Moueix track record."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95+ POINTS - "These are the first wines from Christian Moueix's property in Oakville. In 2008 Moueix bought the Schmidt Ranch, which lies on the southeastern edge of Oakville, next to Vine Hill Ranch and Missouri Hopper. From what I have gathered, the Schmidt Ranch was once considered part of the Missouri Hopper vineyard. More recently, the fruit had gone to Swanson. The Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon is made at Dominus (there is no winery on the property) by Tod Mostero and the team at Dominus. The wines I have tasted so far reveal the distinctly ferrous, savory and tobacco notes that are typical of this sector of Napa Valley, with less of an emphasis on fruit. Compared to Dominus, Ulysses is a warmer site, so the tannins here tend to be a bit creamier than those at Dominus. These three wines certainly point to a very bright future."
"Gravel, smoke, graphite, savory herbs, tobacco and iron are some of the signatures in the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. A typical wine from the eastern sector of Oakville on the border with Yountville, the 2013 is loaded with feral, savory notes, while the expression of blue/blackish fruit lies a bit more in the background. In 2013, the main signature is an expression of structure that is both vertical but also incredibly insistent through to the finish. In other words, this is a super-classic 2013 built for the cellar."