Each year, winemaker Christophe Paubert finds an amusing surprise – a varietal enhanced through exceptional terroir and the unique weather of the growing season. The 2011 vintage was ideal for Malbec, traditionally known as one of the five grapes used in a classic Bordeaux assemblage, and a significant part of historic blends at Stags’ Leap.
Deep purple in color, the 2011 Winemaker’s Muse shows intense varietal character in its fresh raspberry and spicy white pepper aromatics. A sophisticated rose tea floral component begins with the nose but carries into the palate and complements vibrant strawberry and red licorice flavors amid incredibly soft tannins. The wine shows Malbec’s immense, powerful flavors, with an importance of finesse and elegance that’s typical of Stags’ Leap red wines.
The Malbec grapes for the Winemaker’s Muse were sourced from Calistoga and St. Helena, which are especially well suited to growing this Napa Valley rarity.
The 2011 vintage began with a wet winter and spring that delayed bloom and disrupted fruit set, resulting in lower yields in many parts of the region. Cool temperatures delayed vine development by several weeks, a timetable that continued through the cooler-than-usual summer season, and few high heat events occurred at any point in 2011.
Winemaker Christophe Paubert practiced simple methods to show how this rare varietal can excel in Napa Valley. The grapes for this wine underwent a 2 week maceration period designed to pull flavor, color and tannin from the skins. The wine was aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels for 16 months. This deliberate usage of no new oak allows the wine to broadcast and preserve the purity of the Malbec fruit. The final blend includes a small amount of Petit Verdot, which reinforces the floral character from both varietals, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Varietal Composition: 85% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Petite Sirah, 2.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Merlot