A Tale of Two Stags' Leap Cabernet Sauvignons


California has two Stags Leap wineries in Stags Leap region, which sits in the heart of Napa Valley. While the two wineries are unrelated but they share similar names, which may lead to confusion. The first, Stags' Leap Winery, makes affordable and quaffable wines, while the second, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, is known as a California "first growth" winery, making collectable, high-quality wines. Both offer Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Stags' Leap Winery

The Stags' Leap Winery in Napa, California maintains a reputation of making very good wines of consistent quality and character. California wineries have gained recognition over the past few decades for their quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines, and Stags' Leap Winery is no exception. With moderately priced Cabernet Sauvignon wines that consistently receive wine ratings from experts in the very good range, Stags' Leap Cabernet Sauvignon is a reliable, drinkable wine.

With vineyards first planted in the 1890s, Stags' Leap Winery is one of California's oldest wine growers. First established in 1893 by Horace and Minnie Mizner Chase, Stags' Leap Winery produced wine until Prohibition. During that period, the estate continued with viticulture, sourcing its grapes to other producers. The winery remained family run until 1997, when Beringer Wine Estates purchased it. Currently, Australian beverage giant, Fosters Group owns the winery.

The Wines

The winery plants 240 acres of grapes, and produces more than just Cabernet Sauvignon. Grape varietals from Stags' Leap include:Stags' Leap Winery's makes many wines including:

  • Amparo Napa Valley Rosé, a Rhône-style Rosé wine made from Grenache grapes
  • Gypsy Camp, a Rhône-style red blend made from Grenache, Syrah, Petite Syrah, and other Rhône varietals
  • Ne Cede Malis, a Rhône-style blend made from Petite Syrah, Carignane, Mourvedre, Grenache, Peloursin, Syrah and Viognier
  • Many varieta based wines including Viognier, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petite Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon

Stags' Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Stags' Leap Winery offers two Cabernet Sauvignon wines: Estate Grown "The Leap" Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Stags' Leap Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon The Leap

This wine features grapes grown on the estate in a block known as The Leap. The well-drained volcanic soil produces concentrated grapes that create distinctive wines. At around $75 to $85 per bottle, the wine is relatively affordable for a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The Leap wine features flavors of espresso, cinnamon, cassis, leather, black truffle, and blackberries with solid tannins that give it an underlying structure.

James Laube, wine reviewer for Wine Spectator, tasted the 2005 The Leap Cab and rated it 84 points, calling it "Tight, with herb, loamy earth, currant and sage notes that are lean and a touch green around the edges."

Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Also sourced from "the Leap" and blended with locally sourced grapes, the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon sells for around $50 per bottle and features the flavors of truffle, espresso, and dark raspberries.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Founded in 1970 with its first vintage in 1972, Stags' Leap Wine Cellars produces wines of consistent superior quality. Many of the wines are considered collectible by wine experts. Best known for its superior Cabernet Sauvignon wines, Stags' Leap Wine Cellars are thought by many to be some of the best California Cabernet Sauvignon wines available. The Cabernet Sauvignon wines from this winery have earned world-wide acclaim, winning international blind taste test competitions only four years after the winery was established. Many judges compare the wines favorably to first growth wines from France's Bordeaux region.

The Wines

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars offers two distinct lines of wines. The Estate Collection features grapes grown on the estate, while the Napa Valley collection uses primarily estate-grown grapes with grapes sourced from Napa Valley vineyards.

  • CASK 23 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • S.L.V. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • FAY Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ARTEMIS Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Napa Valley Merlot
  • KARIA Napa Valley Chardonnay
  • Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

All four of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon wines consistently receive high ratings from wine experts and are believed to be among the best in the world. The wines age well, between seven and 15 years depending on the tannins in the wine.

Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon

At around $125 to $150 per bottle, Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon is a fruity Cab with notes of blackberry and cassis. Wine Advocate gave the 2007 vintage of this wine a 93 point rating. This is the winery's most collectible wine.

S.L.V. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

At around $60 to $80 per bottle, the S.L.V. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon features mineral notes with flavors of dark fruits, caramel, and vanilla. Wine Advocate's Robert Parker awarded the 2007 vintage 91 points.

Fay Cabernet Sauvignon

At around $50 to $65 per bottle, the Fay Cabernet Sauvignon is Stags' Leap's most affordable Estate offering. The fruit-forward wines promise to age well due to an underlying structure of tannins, and the wines feature flavors of red plum, sandalwood, and forest floor. Robert Parker gave the 2007 vintage a respectable 90 points.


At $25 to $40 per bottle, the Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon is a high-value, affordable wine from a classic California winemaker. The wine blends both estate-grown and locally sourced grapes, and different vintages may contain small amounts of Petite Syrah or Merlot blended in for balance. Robert Parker loved the 2007 vintage of this wine, calling it "big and rich and frankly sensational, just massive in blackberries, currants and sweet dark chocolate." The structure of the wine suggests it will age for a decade or longer.

Affordable Quality

If you're looking for solid, quality examples of California Cabernet Sauvignon wines, then the two Stags Leap wineries have it covered. With a range of values and styles, you're sure to find a Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon that will become one of your favorite California wines.

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A Tale of Two Stags' Leap Cabernet Sauvignons