What We're Drinking Now: 2002 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 'S.L.V.' Cabernet Sauvignon
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars had always been my benchmark vintner for Napa even before moving to the Valley. It started with a bottle of the 1994 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 for my 23rd birthday. At this point it had 10 years of age on it and easily another 10+ to go, but personally, when I opened it was the ideal spot for my palate. I still remember the bright cherry and raspberry flavors, and how hints of earthy coffee, leather and tobacco were just starting to shine through. It was shared with friends and was the highlight of the evening.
Fast forward to 2016, the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Paris Tasting’ that brought world-wide attention to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. The 1973 vintage that won the tasting was only Stag's Leap's second vintage! Britt and I visited the winery on the anniversary of the actual tasting and were blown away with the current 2013 releases as well as a 2005 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon they were pouring for the occasion.
My passion for this producer was significantly re-ignited and it became my goal to find more ‘older vintage’ Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. I was lucky to find a 2002 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon on WineBid.com for the awesome price of just $70 per bottle. Compared to $135 for the current release of this wine, I feel we got a great deal!
Despite the warm weather, we’d been craving Cabernet and carnitas and we thought the aged SLV was the perfect choice - still young enough to have structure, yet old enough to be silky smooth and approachable with the slow-cooked meat.
It was all of this and more. It was sultry, sexy and lured you back for another sip without much pause. While we did decant the wine briefly before pouring, we drank through the bottle much faster than we should have as it was spectacular! Notes of stewed strawberries and white pepper with hints of nutmeg and allspice wrapped together with silky tannins was complimented perfectly by lingering flavors of crushed berries and toasted vanilla on the finish.
I highly suggest if you come across any vintage wines from this property reserve as many as possible since they are definitely limited and won’t be around much longer. You’ll be glad you did! Also, make Cabernet and carnitas a tradition like us... it’s flippin’ fantastic!