Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Fay Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

9.2679 ratings
9.2103 pro ratings
Napa Valley, California, USA
Cabernet Sauvignon
Onion, Shallot, Garlic, Pasta, Venison, Tomato-Based, Potato, Pork, Chocolate & Caramel, White Rice, Mushrooms, Beef, Lamb, Chili & Hot Spicy
Top Notes For
Severn Goodwin

We recently pulled some cases out of storage, which haven't seen the light of day for nearly 15 years, so I'll have some fun posts in the next several months.

Nose has very dusty blackberry, old leather, over-ripe blueberry, black currant, dry lavender, charred cedar plank and moist garden soil.

Palate has cedar cigar box, vanilla, dried cherry, dried raspberry, dried blackberry, mild prune, ripe blackberry, dark chocolate powder, old black licorice candy and (light) decaying leaves with light, but persistent tannins.

5 hours decant, more time appreciated

Added to cellar inventory 5 February 2006.

SLWC Vineyard Notes on FAY 2002:
"FAY was originally planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1961, the introduction of the varietal to the area now designated as the Stags Leap District. When we acquired the property from Nathan Fay in 1986 many of the vines were therefore over a quarter-century old. The replanting of most of this historic vineyard was completed in the mid-1990s, and those vines are now in their prime, producing an abundance of excellent fruit with the rich flavor and elegant texture that have always characterized FAY Cabernet. But the old vines of Block 8 planted by Fay in 1973, and a source of expressive fruit that is a key component of CASK 23 were not removed until after the 2002 harvest. The 2002 vintage is therefore one of the last to include fruit from the original Block 8."

We recently pulled some cases out of storage, which haven't seen the light of day for nearly 15 years, so I'll have some fun posts in the next several months.

Nose has very dusty blackberry, old leather, over-ripe blueberry, black currant, dry lavender, charred cedar plank and moist garden soil.

Palate has cedar cigar box, vanilla, dried cherry, dried raspberry, dried blackberry, mild prune, ripe blackberry, dark chocolate powder, old black licorice candy and (light) decaying leaves with light, but persistent tannins.

5 hours decant, more time appreciated

Added to cellar inventory 5 February 2006.

SLWC Vineyard Notes on FAY 2002:
"FAY was originally planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1961, the introduction of the varietal to the area now designated as the Stags Leap District. When we acquired the property from Nathan Fay in 1986 many of the vines were therefore over a quarter-century old. The replanting of most of this historic vineyard was completed in the mid-1990s, and those vines are now in their prime, producing an abundance of excellent fruit with the rich flavor and elegant texture that have always characterized FAY Cabernet. But the old vines of Block 8 planted by Fay in 1973, and a source of expressive fruit that is a key component of CASK 23 were not removed until after the 2002 harvest. The 2002 vintage is therefore one of the last to include fruit from the original Block 8."

Apr 11th, 2020
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.5

For me, there is one Napa winery that was great in the pioneer days and lost their edge for a time but, has seriously reclaimed it. That winery is Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. It is largely overlooked with so many modern quality producers rising in the Napa Valley.

This 09 Fay is outstanding in a way that is truly unique to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

The nose reveals, dark currants/cassis, deeply extracted; blackberries, black raspberries, black raspberries, black plum, black cherries with faint, creamy raspberries on the high nose & glass edges. Dark expresso roast, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, caramel, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, black licorice to anise, medium intensity dark spice, limestone minerals, dark, rich earth, dry crushed rocks, volcanic minerals, steeped tea, fresh tobacco, graphite, dark liqueur notes, Provence herbs with dark, florals, fresh & withering, candied florals with bright violets.

The body is full, silky and velvety. The tannins are rounded, soft yet tarry and teethe, 40% resolved. There are 10-20 years of life ahead depending on how you enjoy & store wine. The tension, structure, length and balance are just starting to climb to its peak. Dark currants/cassis, deeply extracted; blackberries, black raspberries, black raspberries, black plum with skin, black cherries with faint, poached strawberries & creamy raspberries. Dark, well pressed, expresso roast, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, caramel, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, dark, Asian & India spices with heat, black licorice to anise, medium intensity dark spice, limestone minerals, dark, rich earth, moist clay, dry crushed rocks, volcanic minerals, steeped tea, fresh tobacco, touch of black pepper, graphite, dark liqueur notes, Provence herbs with dark, florals, fresh & withering, candied florals with bright violets and lavender. The acidity is phat, round and fountain drippy. The long finish is; big, round, elegant, ripe, ruby, well balanced and persists deeply for minutes.

Photos of, their tasting room & Estate vines, barrel room, non-stop swinging pendulum ball and aerial view of their Estate.

For me, there is one Napa winery that was great in the pioneer days and lost their edge for a time but, has seriously reclaimed it. That winery is Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. It is largely overlooked with so many modern quality producers rising in the Napa Valley.

This 09 Fay is outstanding in a way that is truly unique to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

The nose reveals, dark currants/cassis, deeply extracted; blackberries, black raspberries, black raspberries, black plum, black cherries with faint, creamy raspberries on the high nose & glass edges. Dark expresso roast, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, caramel, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, black licorice to anise, medium intensity dark spice, limestone minerals, dark, rich earth, dry crushed rocks, volcanic minerals, steeped tea, fresh tobacco, graphite, dark liqueur notes, Provence herbs with dark, florals, fresh & withering, candied florals with bright violets.

The body is full, silky and velvety. The tannins are rounded, soft yet tarry and teethe, 40% resolved. There are 10-20 years of life ahead depending on how you enjoy & store wine. The tension, structure, length and balance are just starting to climb to its peak. Dark currants/cassis, deeply extracted; blackberries, black raspberries, black raspberries, black plum with skin, black cherries with faint, poached strawberries & creamy raspberries. Dark, well pressed, expresso roast, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, caramel, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, dark, Asian & India spices with heat, black licorice to anise, medium intensity dark spice, limestone minerals, dark, rich earth, moist clay, dry crushed rocks, volcanic minerals, steeped tea, fresh tobacco, touch of black pepper, graphite, dark liqueur notes, Provence herbs with dark, florals, fresh & withering, candied florals with bright violets and lavender. The acidity is phat, round and fountain drippy. The long finish is; big, round, elegant, ripe, ruby, well balanced and persists deeply for minutes.

Photos of, their tasting room & Estate vines, barrel room, non-stop swinging pendulum ball and aerial view of their Estate.

Sep 14th, 2019
Claus Bentin

2008

2008

Dec 30th, 2018
Mike Saviage

From a restaurant list. Red garnet, mature looking and great color. Nice old cab nose with notes of black cherries, plums, herbs, earth, some cedar wood and worn saddle leather. Great texture in the mouth. Balanced with resolved tannins; the structure matches the fruit very nicely. Lasting finish. Very nice. Drink now or hold... this has many years of fun ahead of it.

From a restaurant list. Red garnet, mature looking and great color. Nice old cab nose with notes of black cherries, plums, herbs, earth, some cedar wood and worn saddle leather. Great texture in the mouth. Balanced with resolved tannins; the structure matches the fruit very nicely. Lasting finish. Very nice. Drink now or hold... this has many years of fun ahead of it.

May 8th, 2018
Severn Goodwin

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Dinner; 6 December 2017 at Trumbull Kitchen, Hartford, CT

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Dinner; 6 December 2017 at Trumbull Kitchen, Hartford, CT

Dec 7th, 2017
jesus g

Hospitality Schramsberg Vineyards

9.9

Drinking this with my dad

Drinking this with my dad

4 people found it helpfulJun 27th, 2014
Ryan Key

Excellent Cab with both old and new world nuances. Strong blueberry and black fruit but a refined finish. Complex and delicious. WBA

Excellent Cab with both old and new world nuances. Strong blueberry and black fruit but a refined finish. Complex and delicious. WBA

3 people found it helpfulMar 23rd, 2014
David Annis

I have yet to have a Stag's Leap cabernet I didn't enjoy. This was no exception. This lacks the complexity of the Cask 23 or the SLV. However it's in a good place now, but unlikely to get better. The nose is still quite pronounced, but the tannins have softened and there's just enough fruit left to balance things.

I have yet to have a Stag's Leap cabernet I didn't enjoy. This was no exception. This lacks the complexity of the Cask 23 or the SLV. However it's in a good place now, but unlikely to get better. The nose is still quite pronounced, but the tannins have softened and there's just enough fruit left to balance things.

2 people found it helpfulFeb 12th, 2016
James Frinzi

I absolutely need another bottle of this.

I absolutely need another bottle of this.

2 people found it helpfulJan 18th, 2015
Daron Watson

what I found impressive was how approachable & fruit loaded this was w/o being over the top or unbalanced ~ straight up deeeli$h

what I found impressive was how approachable & fruit loaded this was w/o being over the top or unbalanced ~ straight up deeeli$h

1 person found it helpfulSep 7th, 2017