Stags’ Leap Sauvignon Blanc

We wanted to showcase a new favourite wine here at WineCollective and Tannic.  While we have worked previously with Stags’ Leap Wine Cellars, the recently featured 2012 Sauvignon Blanc holds a certain quality and finesse that just needs to be talked about! And so, we were pleased to provide it to all of our wine enthusiasts and club members.


Stags’ Leap Wine Cellars is a renowned and prestigious Cabernet producer in Napa. The winery was founded in 1970 and was put on the map when the 1973 S.L.V. Cab Sauv won at the “Judgement of Paris” in 1976. For those of you that don’t know, this wine beat out what was thought to be the best of the best French Bordeaux.

The Sauvignon Blanc has been produced since 1980. The blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musqué and a touch of Semillion is farmed mostly from the Oak Knoll District (90%), with the remainder sourced from Rancho Chimiles vineyard in Wooden Valley. There are approximately 22 different clones of Sauvignon Blanc registered in California. The most prolific is the Wente clone FPS 01, which accounts for almost all the Sauvignon Blanc planted. Sauvignon Musqué is a clonal variant originally from Bordeaux, not considered a varietal, and is incorporated in blends for its intense floral and tropical fruit flavours.

More on the varietals:

Sauvignon Blanc is a distinct varietal that commonly displays tropical fruit, herbacious-ness, dried herbs, green bell pepper and even florals. It is routinely blended with Semillion, Viognier, Gewurtztraminer, or Riesling as a means of settling strong herbacious and green flavours. Because of it’s bright acidity, Sauv Blanc is a versatile partner for food.


Illustration by Wine Folly.

Sauvignon Musque when blended with Sauvignon Blanc, adds expressive aromatics and richness to the wine. Depending on the clone, terroir, harvest and treatment, Sauvignon Musque can carry qualitites similar to Sauv Blanc, or balance with florals and melons. Sauvignon Musque has an affinity for shellfish and seafood.
Semillion  will add depth to the mid-palate and soften the racy acidity. There is only a splash in the Stags’ Leap, but it is attributed with the wine’s elegant mouth-feel. Flavours of Semillon can range from citrus to apple, and exotic tropical fruits when the grapes are ripe. In California, the warm climate produces tropical flavours and oak aging gives a butter quality to the wine.


The previous three vintages of Stags’ Leap Sauv Blanc received 91, 92 and 93 points respectively. We rated the newly released 2012 at 91 points.

“Very light, almost colourless with yellow-grey reflections. Tightly layered green apple, citrus rind, pebbles and gravel minerality. There is a zesty and almost spiced herbacious note of lemongrass, ginger, dried hay and lilies. Orchard fruits, passion fruit and citrus continue with a mouthwatering acidity that flows from the front palate all the way to the finish. Lead-like minerality with blanched almonds give depth and a base to the wine. Drying and slightly tannic, the wine fermented in both stainless steel and neutral French oak. It was also left with its lees (dead yeast and grape skins) for 6 months, giving body and plushness.”

Stags’ Leap notes on the blending of the wine:

“Sauvignon Musque, a clonal variant originally from Bordeaux, prized for its intense floral and tropical fruit flavors. It accounts for over a quarter of the blend. Then, we balance the round fruit flavors of B.R.V. with the more structured mineral and citrus character of the grapes from Terrence Wilson’s Rancho Chimiles Vineyard in Wooden Valley. We continue to build complexity with the addition of Semillon, known for its honey, fig, and melon character. Our winemaking team preserves the wine’s sleek varietal character by tank fermenting more than a third of the grapes, while sur lies aging (leaving the wine in contact with the spent yeast) in fourth- and fifth-fill French oak and regular battonage (stirring the lees) smooth out any edges and give the wine an appealing texture.”

sauvignon Semillon

The Stags’ Leap Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for your Thanksgiving feast! There is enough body and weight to hold up to the turkey, and acidity to balance and cleanse the palate from sweet potato casserole, brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce.

Not a turkey fan? Here are our top food pairings for this wine!

  1. Sole in a herb/butter sauce
  2. Crab cakes
  3. Thai green curry and coconut sauces
  4. Soft cheeses, Camembert, Brinata, Brie
  5. Bolder cheese, Tallegio, Raclette, Provolone
  6. Waldorf salad
  7. Grilled polenta and shrimp
  8. Scallops and salsa verde
  9. Chicken pot pie

If you have already tried your Stags’ Leap Sauvignon Blanc – in part of your September packages – sign onto to rate and comment on the wine. Or, check out our online store and purchase some of our limited available stock!