The giants of the wine media have been raving about Napa’s Stags Leap district for years. This “valley within a valley” about four miles north of the town of Napa is small – only about 2,700 acres, roughly half of it under vine – but its unique properties are well known in the wine world. Most wine writers describe the region’s wine with variations of the phrase “power and elegance.” The large diurnal swing in the area creates the perfect balance of acid and sugar as well as a longer growing season, which many Bordeaux varietals thrive on.
The 2013 vintage was notable for its bumper crop of high-quality fruit with excellent aromatics. That certainly comes through in this big-boned yet refined Merlot. It’s friendly and fruit forward without being simplistic, hitting the palate with a heady rush of fruit and spices: plum, red fruit, cinnamon, a touch of cloves. Later the spices turn savory and laced with caramel. Typical of Stags’ Leap wines, the tannins are refined and soft but not pallid. It should age very nicely for at least two or three years. We found a great deal on it at Southern California Costco outlets for $16 – typical price elsewhere is around $28. At even that $28 price point it’s a worthy bottle.
Given the history of Stags’ Leap vineyard we thought it appropriate to pair this wine with the 1952 Kirk Douglas classic The Bad And The Beautiful. Arguably one of the greatest Kirk Douglas performances of all time. A great film about the glamour and the grit of Hollywood’s golden age. If you’re in the mood for a great classic with an amazing cast and story – this is it. Bold, Beautiful, Powerful and Elegant – all rolled into one and then delivered in a glass, thanks to the 2012 Stags’ Leap Merlot.