Chimney Rock Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
The Chimney Rock Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (a blend with Petit Verdot and
Merlot) has a lot going for it, though I had this by the glass in busy Boston and hence could
not judge how long it had been aerated before it came to me. The wine seems well
constructed, with moderate acidity and tannins working in concert. Primary notes of fresh
cherry, black cherry, black currant, vanilla, a little smoky, but it is evident the oak god was
consulted rather than adulated.
Despite its chronological youth, the wine served its convivial purpose without seeming brash (no food was involved). The finish was satisfying, proof that this is no engineered wine. Alas, at only a single glass (mid-afternoon “stop for a drink” venue, with other wines and dinner to follow at another location) I could not delve deeper, but let's say I'm interested enough to contemplate a second date, at which I swear I will act the gentleman (by which I mean patient decanting). The wine runs $37-$56 a bottle.
The Stags Leap area is in Napa, seven miles north of the town of Napa and just east of
Yountville. Stags Leap is one of Napa's smallest sub-appellations, just a mile wide and three
miles long. Chimney Rock's vineyards and winery are at the southern end of the district,
hence the perfect oasis for me next time I am in the region, especially if there is traffic.
I swirl, taste and spit too, but I always prefer to actually swallow the stuff before I say anything
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman