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August 05, 2015

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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The market has made no secret that the 2012 and 2013 vintages in Napa are emerging as all-time classics, paralleling 2009 and 2010 in Bordeaux. As such this year we have been releasing the highlights of the legendary 2012 vintage. Today’s release of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars flagship wine, Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon, is one of the most exciting yet. It has been awarded 97-100 points from Robert Parker and is priced today at £685, a mouth-watering prospect considering its potentially perfect score. We released Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine 2012 for £685 in February which scored 96-100 points and the price has already risen to £830 per case of six. Moreover, when we compare their Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon to the other 100 pointers and potential 100 points superstars from the 2012 it immediately looks undervalued:

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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is truly one of the world’s most iconic Estates. It was founded in 1970 by Warren Winiarski when he purchased a 44 acre parcel of land next to land owned by the legendary Napa Pioneer Nathan Fay, in the Stags Leap District. The plot at the time was planted with plums, cherries and walnut trees, along with a small amount of Petite Sirah. Winiarski replaced these with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the vineyard was renamed Stags’ Leap Vineyard, or S.L.V. The first vintage was in 1972; the 1973 will be forever etched into wine legend.

The Judgment of Paris was organised by Steven Spurrier in 1976 to pit the leading wines of California against the great wines of Bordeaux. The famous panel made up of some of France’s leading wine names tasted the best Californian wines against some of the best from France. The red category included 1971 Chateau Haut Brion, Mouton Rothschild, Leoville Las Cases and Montrose. Stag’s Leap S.L.V shocked the wine world by finishing in first place, which resulted in it being placed in the front pages of Time Magazine. Decanter Magazine described it as a ‘victory that put California on the winemaking map, and established Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as a global superstar’. In 1978, a new panel tasted the same wines again, which resulted in Stag’s Leap reigning victorious once again. The Judgment of Paris’ 30th anniversary saw the same vintage competing once again; Stag’s Leap S.L.V placed second, confirming the original tastings and the wine’s ability to age in bottle. A bottle of 1973 S.L.V can now been found in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

However, Cask 23 is the Estate’s flagship wine, the pinnacle of its winemaking. Cask 23 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the S.L.V and Fay vineyards. The Fay vineyard was purchased in 1986 and is the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the area. The first vintage of Cask 23 was produced in 1974 when Warren Winiarski noticed serendipitously that one cask, number 23, stood out from all other casks with regards to taste. In 2012, Cask 23 combines the signature perfume of the Fay vineyard seamlessly with the structure and minerality of S.L.V. Cask 23 is only made in vintages where the fruit is considered exceptional.

Cask 23 2012 is the highest scoring Stags Leap from Robert Parker making it truly collectible. It also displays superb vintage premium, the table below represents the prices of the only cases available on the UK market at present:

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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars make approximately 10,000 cases a year across their range of wines. In 2012 production of Cask 23 was 1,500 cases. Cask 23 2012 is a future legend and it will pay to buy on release, past vintages have risen in price steeply, if it receives 100 points the price will become stratospheric. We have 50 cases on a purely first come first serve basis.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 6×75 – £685 IB or £836.76 incl duty and VAT
The spectacular 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 appears to be the finest Cask 23 since the glory years of the mid-eighties. It boasts a dense purple color, complex notes of spice box, Christmas fruitcake, blackcurrant jam, mulberries and spring flowers, as well as a full-bodied, opulent personality. It is a profound example of this iconic wine that went through a period of mediocrity in the mid- to late-1990s prior to being sold. Drink now-2038.

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