Linking this history with Stags’ Leap Winery Co-Founder Horace Chase, and his family motto, “Sed Contra Audentior Ito,” comes the eighth release of Audentia. The inimitable blend pays tribute to that motto ¬– “Always Push Harder” ¬– crafted from the Estate’s most select Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot vineyards that push to produce the most expressive and distinct fruit. Winemaker Christophe Paubert drew on his curiosity to capture the essence of Stags’ Leap and all of its cherished nuances, hand-selecting only the finest lots and barrels for the unique blend.
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Audentia Estate is composed of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petite Sirah and 9% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it bursts with plum preserves, blueberry pie and blackcurrant jelly notes, plus hints of black olive, wild sage, lilacs and Sichuan pepper, plus a touch of crushed rocks. Medium-bodied, tight-knit and delicately styled, it has fantastic energy and a long, shimmery finish.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, November 30, 2021
“This is complex and intense on the nose, driven by aromas of ripe dark fruit, dark chocolate and sweet vanilla with hints of hazelnuts, licorice and graphite. Full-bodied with layers of firm, chewy tannins, together with a dense, viscous structure. Deep and compact all the way through the long, velvety finish with notes of crushed stones and dark chocolate. Needs some time to mature. Cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and petit verdot. Drink after 2025.” - James Suckling, February 2022
Our 2018 Audentia is the embodiment of the distinctive personality of our estate vineyard, exhibiting a finely crafted wine with tremendous concentration, depth, and complexity. Unfolding with rich layers of dark, inky, blue, and black fruits on the nose and palate, this wine opens with black currants, rum cherry, and dried plum, alongside notes of crushed walnut, dried rose petal, orange pekoe tea, and delicate violet. Secondary notes of star anise, cedar, and clove also come through, a nod to the well-integrated oak ageing. The wine is bold, opulent, and balanced with a creamy texture and seamlessly integrated tannins leading to long, espresso, dark chocolate, cocoa-nib savory finish, with fresh acidity and a lifted fresh mint character. Unctuous with generous intensity, a tribute to the iconic character and longevity that have become synonymous with Stags’ Leap estate wines. Beautifully drinking upon release, and sure to age for the next 25+ years, due to the quality of the tannins and the fruit.
The Napa Valley region enjoyed a stunning, near picture-perfect 2018 growing season including good winter rains, mild spring weather and steady temperatures throughout that allowed for even flowering and bud break. These ideal growing conditions were followed by a cool, even, and slow-paced harvest, which allowed the winery to vinify wines at a gentle pace. The resulting 2018 wines are of very high quality with lower alcohol, concentrated flavors, color, and excellent acidity.
The marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot in this extraordinary estate wine highlights the rich heritage of the property, and natural lineage of the Estate, as well as the balance of power and finesse between each of these varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon has a longstanding history as the Stags Leap District’s signature varietal, and the district’s unique location, where erosion from the palisades has become the source of its volcanic soils, creating a distinctive characteristic, now synonymous with the modern reputation for Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignons. Cabernet lots were hand-selected from a singular expanse of our estate vineyards that features thin, rocky soils in its upper reaches, giving way to finer-grained loamy soils at its floor.
Sourced entirely from 25-38 year old vines on our Stags Leap estate, the Petite Sirah was sourced exclusively from block 9, long known as one of the winery’s highest-performing blocks that delivers each year with deep blue and red fruit we liken to Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Petit Verdot, known for its color, floral flavor intensity and tannin profile, is also sourced from our estate vines. The combination of these varietals results in a blend that’s both powerful and concentrated, balanced and elegant. Special care was made in preserving purity of fruit and selecting Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot that would strengthen without overpowering the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Grapes for the blend are hand-picked in the vineyard and hand-sorted at the winery and fermented in a combination of small, closed tanks and 500-liter oak barrels, called puncheons, which brings even more concentration while enhancing the tannins softness. Additionally, the lots undergo a lengthy, almost month-long, maceration period which adds color, tannin and complexity of flavors to the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.
For Christophe Paubert, Winemaker and General Manager at Stags’ Leap Winery, the identity of a wine is found through the terroir. Christophe’s career has spanned the industry from sales to winemaking, and his impressive background includes positions at Chateau d’Yquem and Gruaud-Larose as well as projects in Chile, Spain and Washington State. But it was the terroir of Stags’ Leap that drew him to California.
|Oak Treatment||100% French oak (64% new) for 20 months|
|Blend||91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Sirah, 3% Petit Verdot|