2016 Stelzner Cabernet Sauvignon
The nose displays a rich perfume of violets, red and black fruit, vanilla, and savory herbs with sweet spice notes and a freshness suggestive of the cool maritime winds that reach inward to the Stag’s Leap District. The palate is lush and juicy showing blackberry, cherry, and currant flavors enlivened by mouthwatering acidity and crushed mineral elements which provide balance, depth, and a tension that serves as a stretched canvass for earthier notes like tanned leather, cigar box, and black pepper. Even a highly skilled winemaker could have yielded a heavy-handed or lopsided wine in a historically hot vintage like 2015, yet this wine shows elegance and charm amidst power and intensity, something winemaker Julien Fayard seems to be consistently good at, even in uncertain growing years. This wine is a reminder that bold, powerful cabs don’t need to exist to the exclusion of elegance and depth of character.