My husband and I had an afternoon available to us, so we just spontaneously drove up Silverado Trail starting in the City of Napa. As we passed wineries, we counted off those we’d been to. Then there appeared Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Back when I was growing up here in Napa, in the 1970s and 1980s, I’d had a friend who works at Stag’s Leap tasting room. As a result, I had the chance to drink quite a bit of Stag’s Leap wine. Still newly famous from the 1976 firsts place award in the Paris Tasting, this winery polished it’s servers’ knowledge and hired those who enthusiastically enjoyed wine. My friend did and I got to taste so much Stag’s Leap wine. It has remained the benchmark my palate references to this day.

So it was my supreme pride and joy to take my husband to a “childhood” haunt. I hadn’t been to the winery itself in years. The new tasting area is set just south of the old tasting room. While no longer humble, it doesn’t have to be. The 140+ guests who were in the gift shop, seated at the inside tasting area and on the patio were easily accommodated. We parked easily and breezed in.

Jojo met brought us the Estate Collection flight tasting menu. He was jovial, bubbly, and has been working at Stag’s Leap for over six years. He knew his stuff.

What’s Included in the Wine Tasting?

For $45 each, we sampled:

  • 2016 Arcadia Vineyard Chardonnay, it was bright and fruity on my tongue. I am a decided red wine drinker, but of late I’ve been discovering some amazing Chardonnays that are getting my attention. This 2016 Chardonnay is most definitely one that has turned my head. The lingering fruit complexity, brilliant acid, and rich candy finish make this one of my new favorites.
  • 2015 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon, light and silky, this smooth-finishing wine was enjoyable with that slightly dry elegance characteristic of Cabernet Sauvignons. I found myself craving a bite of my mom’s pastasciutta with meat sauce to accompany this delicious red.
  • Stag’s Leap 2015 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon, we were not prepared for the complexity. Sincerely, from my early exposure to Stag’s Leap wine to my more recent tastings, my palate has matured, even more, acquiring the discernment of subtle flavors and aroma. I believe I can taste even more individual and distinct flavors and nuances in wines now than as a younger wine drinker.
  • 2015 CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon, the queen of this flight…Bravissimo! While drinking this wine my mind and palate soared! Layers of flavors, the terroir, the contrasting eleganc, and power….quite simply…not to be missed! As my husband and I sat enjoying this final tasting, we seriously discussed the feasibility of our buying a case of this superb wine and storing it in our San Francisco flat. In order for us to truly take on this monumental ownership, we would become curators to our purchases. Nothing less will do for wine of this quality. You must try this!!!

What We Purchased

We ended up buying a bottle of the The 2016 ARCADIA VINEYARD Chardonnay and a bottle of 2015 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon. My husband’s $45 tasting fee was waived by this purchase.

Prepared to pay for my $45 tasting, Jojo waived my individual fee, which was gracious and unexpected. His laidback, urban character was both a contrast and comic relief to what could have been a very stuffy experience. He was perfect for us.  Being a Napa Valley Native, I just don’t buy that whole “lunch amongst the vines” stuff. That’s a created image for tourists. So, Jojo fit right in with my own life experience growing up here. The locals of Italian descent start drinking wine early in life and often. Even wine glasses aren’t necessary. If need be, a simple water glass is fine, thank you very much.

Stag’s Leap Winery was an outstanding choice for a spontaneous afternoon in Napa. Updating my distant memories was especially enjoyable on many levels. And as far as our wine tasting discernment goes, we have been changed by these Cabernets.


Quick Tips

  • Reservations are not needed after 4:00 pm
  • Can accommodate 140+ people at a time
  • Tasteful and comfortable
  • Available for booking of private events and private tastings
  • Easy parking

Contact Info

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
5766 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
Phone: 707.261.6410
Hours: Mon – Sun: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Reservations Recommended 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Walk-in seating available from 4:00 pm til closing.