- There’s Napa and there’s Napa. The term “Napa Cabernet” is all too often used to refer to any wine that hails from “The Valley.” This rhetoric quite effectively tars all wineries with the same brush: from the behemoth brands, supplying many of the large grocery stores with their generic-tasting wine-flavored alcohol; all the way through to the small estate properties, producing miniscule quantities of truly hand-crafted wines each year.
The problem here is that there’s a growing number of smaller wineries who are placing great emphasis on the land (that goes way beyond the marketing hype on the back label of their bottles), and so the differences are becoming more and more apparent with every vintage in Napa.
- The Baldacci Family have owned this property since ‘97. The original plans for the land were to simply turn it into a real estate investment…but where’s the fun in that!?!?! Thomas Baldacci – in what was probably an idea devised after numerous glasses of wine – decided instead to turn his attention towards growing grapes and also building somewhat of a lasting heritage for his family, by building what is now the Baldacci Winery.
- The Baldacci Family own 37 total acres of vineyard land in the Stags Leap and Carneros AVAs of Napa. Since they’re growing their own grapes and making their own wine, they have a much greater control over the juice that’s going into the bottle.
- The original plan for the Baldacci winery was to use all the properties’ grapes for their wine program. Only problem was, they didn’t know if they could successfully shift 3,000+ cases a year at a retail level. Therefore, the winery used the years prior to ‘06 to really hone their individual bottlings, and sold-off their excess grapes. This as opposed to just banging-out large quantities of juice from the get-go, and hoping that someone would buy. Smart move!
- The Stags Leap District AVA (American Viticultural Area) is nestled 6 miles north of the city of Napa.
- Grapes (in one form or another) have been grown in Napa since the mid-1800s. This was back when the Silverado Trail was just a quiet horse path, and not the “Wine Disneyland” it is today…
- The Stags Leap District only really started to come into its own (at least, in the eyes of the wine drinker at-large) in 1976. At the ‘76 Judgment of Paris (a blind tasting held in Paris), the French judges awarded first place to the 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, beating out producers such as Mouton-Rothschild and Haut Brion. The French were pissed, the Yanks were delighted and the Stags Leap Disctrict hasn’t looked back since.
- The Stags Leap District was the first AVA in Napa to be given its AVA status based purely on its unique terroir (grape growing conditions).
- Even though grapes had been growing in Stags Leap for quite some time, it was “grape pioneer” Nathan Fay who planted the first Cabernet vineyards in the region. Good man!
A fruit bomb this ain’t! At the same time, I wouldn’t really call it restrained. An intense mouthful of plum, mocha, and wild blackberries upfront, turning towards tea, dried herbs, clove and red cherries on the backend.
If you’re looking to elevate your experience with Napa Cabs, you need to get with the program and start thinking smaller (i.e. smaller vineyards)! 10 years in the cellar should be no problem at all here.
Pair it with a big name wine from “The Valley” and see how you get on…I promise you won’t be disappointed.
$65 – Available from www.baldaccivineyards.com