Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Fay 2017
2017 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon
The FAY vineyard is where the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars story began. Established by pioneering grape grower Nathan Fay in 1961, it was the first planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in what is now the Stags Leap District. At the time, conventional wisdom maintained that the area was too cool for Cabernet Sauvignon. But tasting Nathan Fay’s homemade Cabernet in 1969 was a defining moment for the founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Here was land capable of producing a wine that could rival the best in the world. Within a year an adjoining ranch, now known as S.L.V., was purchased. And, in 1986, the winery purchased Nathan Fay’s vineyard and named it FAY in his honor. The first vintage of a single vineyard FAY Cabernet Sauvignon was 1990.
Vineyard & Winemaking
FAY vineyard remains one the great Napa Valley vineyards, producing fruit with an abundance of supple red and black berry character, voluptuous perfume and a luscious, fine-grained texture. The grapes were sourced from Blocks 4, 3B, 8, 6, 3A, 5A, which combined, give the wine its classic red-fruit tones and aromatic top notes as well as its structure. When the various lots are blended and aged in French oak barrels, the resulting wine gives us the classic expression that is a hallmark of our estategrown Cabernet Sauvignon, “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” With this vintage, Winemaker Marcus Notaro used careful barrel selection to marry the unique characters of FAY vineyard to the barrel type and toast level to further enhance the fruit in the wine. The wine was aged for 21 months in new French oak. In addition, he added 1.5% Cabernet Franc to the blend which adds an accent of blueberry spice. This is the second crop of Cabernet Franc, which replaced the Petite Verdot that was originally planted in FAY.
The 2017 vintage was a memorable one with more than its fair share of historic challenges – but it resulted in very high-quality fruit at lower yields. We started with a wet winter that brought much-needed water after several years of drought. Spring and summer temperatures alternated between unusually cool and unusually hot with a record-breaking heat wave over Labor Day weekend. Just as harvest was reaching its final crescendo, on October 8th tragic wildfires broke out that burned throughout Napa and Sonoma counties. At Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, the Atlas Peak fire burned right down to the edge of the estate vineyards. Thankfully the vineyard served as a giant fire break and the winery was undamaged and our employees were safe. We give a special
thank you to the cellar and maintenance teams who demonstrated incredible dedication to wine quality in restoring power to the winery and caring for the fermenting wines under extreme conditions.
The 2017 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon has inviting aromas of ripe berries, figs, plums, candied cherries, strawberry preserves, and a touch of a jasmine perfume. The wine has a bright and lively entry and mid-palate, which is nicely-balanced with rich polished tannins and cherry pie aftertaste. Try pairing this estate-grown Cabernet with citrus and roasted beet salad with goat cheese, soy-glazed salmon, or Pork Milanese.