The boisterous bouquet invites you in with lively aromas of delicate Meyer lemon, orange blossom, fresh white peach and delicate honeysuckle, supported by more subtle notes of Tarte Tatin and brioche toast (a nod to the well-integrated French Oak). Fresh, vibrant and mouthwatering, the palate is crisp with layers of ripe Golden Delicious apple, guava and warm Asian pear, backed up by a luscious texture that is rich and balanced (hinting at the delicate batonnage lees stirring that occurs during the winemaking process). Well-integrated notes of vanilla, allspice and crème brûlée lead to a lengthy finish that is full and bright. Maintaining a core of fresh acidity, this Chardonnay is graceful and elegant, full of depth and complexity.
James Suckling 94 Points
Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
Robert Parker 90 Points
ABOUT STAGS’ LEAP ESTATE
1872 – A Vineyard is Born
After decades of being owned by a multitude of owners – via Mexican land grants (Yajome Rancho), homesteading, a bounty award, and patents – the Grigsby family consolidated a 700-acre parcel where the current Stags’ Leap estate resides today. The Grigsbys planted grapes on the land in 1872 and 13 years later they transferred the land to W.W. Thompson and H.H. Harris (Napa County Sheriff). The next year Mr. Harris conveyed his interest in the property to Thompson’s nephew, Horace Blanchard Chase.
1886-1909: The Chase/Mizner Era
In the late 1880s, Horace Chase, an eligible bachelor from Chicago, and Mary Ysabela “Minnie” Mizner, belle of society in the former state capital of Benicia, met at Napa Soda Springs Resort in the hills outside Napa. They fell in love and were married in 1888 at the Benicia home of Minnie’s father who had served as California State Senator for two terms in the 1860s and who later became an ambassador to Latin American countries. Shortly thereafter Horace and his uncle divided their 700 acre tract into two parcels and Horace became sole owner of the northwestern 365 acres.
The Chases were known for their lavish hospitality and, in season, hosted the scions of San Francisco society during an era of great wealth stemming from gold and silver mining. During the winter, the Chases left Stags’ Leap and spent their winters in San Francisco attending opera, theater, receptions, Cotillion Club dances, and hunt balls at the Palace Hotel.
While the Manor House was being constructed Horace had decided to take advantage of grapes on the property by making wine. By 1892, 80 acres of vineyards were in production. Since he had no winemaking facilities, he built a 150 foot wine cave by blasting into the volcanic rhyolite rock of the Palisades. The cave was the first to be built into the east side of the Napa Valley.
Unfortunately, the Chases literally “gave into misfortune” in 1909 when he lost much of his fortune through failed investments in Mexican silver mines that went bad; and the property was lost by default.