Two new bottles hot off the press at Napa’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars — comprising the two most iconic California grape varietals there are.
2019 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay Napa Valley – Classically styled and somewhat doughy, this wine combines bright notes of applesauce and lemon curd with a layer of baking spice and toasted coconut. There’s lots of vanilla to go around, plus a pinch of sawdust — oak hasn’t been spared on this one — with a finish that nods at guava. Well-rounded, but not entirely surprising. B+ / $28
2018 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Fruit is surprisingly lacking on this bottling, and although hints of raspberry can be found on the palate if you search hard enough, the wine keeps its focus on licorice, forest floor, and the darkest depths of the barrel. Notes of dark chocolate emerge on the tannic, restrained conclusion, but that’s a long time coming. Maybe a few years of cellar time would soften things up? B- / $55