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Cellared & Bottled by: DC Flint MW Domaines and Estates, Napa, CA

2012, 2013 & 2014 are considered, by Napa growers, as “picture perfect vintages”; shaping up exactly like they wanted. On the positive side, the weather was perfect, harvests were massive. On the negative side, wine makers were not prepared for the amount of grapes that were harvested. However, that “negative” side should turn out to be very good for the consumer. At least with the 2012 harvest there have been lots of “spot market” sales (both grapes and finished wine) to 3rd party vendors and negociants (2013 may or may not show some damaged or less than ideal wine…because of the disruption of the fermentation caused by the Napa earthquake…and it’s possible that we may or may not see the results of that on the market soon; 2014 is yet to be determined but looks to be excellent, 2012 has pretty much proved itself already). That is good news for us, better wine at lower-than-normal prices. While quality will always be something to seek out, on average, the Napa 2012’s are showing well…and in a wider range of known & unknown labels.

Since it’s pretty rare to find a decent Stags Leap Cabernet for under $40 (often they start at $50-65+) and knowing Costco often finds stellar bargains, I thought this one would be worth a taste test. The blend is: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon 12% Merlot. Happily I was not disappointed.

Upon opening, it was very drinkable; already fruit forward. Not sweet, just fruity. Cherries & plums are prevalent. An under-taste of cocoa nicely supports the fruit. Tannins are firm. After about an hour in the air, it was smoother; a lush, full mouthfeel.

I would say that if you are fond of Stags Leap wines, this is a Bulk Buy; comparable to wines at least 2.5x this price. One of the best Kirkland-brand wines I’ve tried so far (and I’m a fan).

Update: 2.5 hrs after opening, this wine moved to a completely different class. The fruit receded a bit, balanced by the tannins. Graphite showed in the taste and the mouthfeel became even more silky. I would upgrade this from a very good deal to a great deal. I didn’t think it would be necessary to decant but I’ve changed my mind. Style and substance here.