Marcus Notaro, Winemaker Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

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IN 1976 at the famous Judgement of Paris, a couple of California wines made history by winning the top recognition over many famous and legendary French wines. One of these was a bottle of 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars SLV Cabernet Sauvignon. The blind tasting surprised the world of wine and gave California wine immediate credibility and widespread recognition.

Forty years later, the winery launched the SLV Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, with a label design reminiscent of that famous one that gave Stag's Leap Wine Cellars an honorary place in the wine world.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Marcus Notaro, winemaker at the SLWC and the man responsible for the making of these limited edition collectible wine. From an Italian father who used to make his own wine at home, Marcus took lessons from his boss when waiting tables in a Seattle restaurant and entered the wine profession. This took him to well known Columbia Crest in Washington state, where he stayed for 10 years before he was offered to come to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley. "There's no recipe for a good wine; it is a mix of the agriculture and how we respond to it, the fruit in the cellar. And every year poses a different challenge," he told me. But, how important is the fruit for a good wine? "Pretty significant; good fruit and a good winemaker can make good wine. Ordinary grapes would be difficult to make a great wine." His philosophy is to spend as much time as he can in the vineyard, which has been replanted and made different from the one that once produced that famous 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. When I had the opportunity to taste "en premieur" the 2013 anniversary edition, it gave me the impression of an elegant, balanced and classy California Cabernet that has made history for the second time because of its own very distinctive personality. You need to try it.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars SLV Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Region: Napa; Stags Leap District

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $135 Aromas: Licorice, Red Currant, Black Cherries Flavors: Pure fruit concentration, dark...

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