Surh Luchtel’s Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernets are one of the best representations of what a solid, balanced-yet-powerful, crowd pleasing, and all around FANTASTIC Cabernet Sauvingnons from Napa should be. I hate to admit it, but they could be charging 50% more than the $55-60 price tag. I’m just glad they aren’t.
The Stagecoach Vineyard is known for sourcing world-class grapes – primarily Cabernet Sauvignon – to high end vineyards such as Altamura, Caymus, Duckhorn, Pahlmeyer, Quintessa, and Vaider. Surh Luchtel is in good company here, as they deserve to be. Stagecoach vineyard is known for its’ red volcanic soil and boulders, and is located at an elevation of about 1500-1700 feet. The fruit grown here is intense – small berry, thick skinned grapes that produce dark, powerful, tannic wines.
First, a disclaimer. I am a HUGE fan of SL’s 2005 vintage Stagecoach Cabernet. I am yet to serve that wine, and not have an immediate consensus that it’s simply phenomenal. To me, that is a perfect Napa Cabernet – bar none. I noticed that I had started off a little biased in this review, so I’ve taken a step back to first appreciate the 2004’s differences, before writing.
This wine reminds me of a wine that I would seek out earlier along in my tasting ‘career’ – when I was trying to find New World wines that would remind me of the big Australian Syrahs that I first fell in love with. Big Oak, Big Alchohol, Big Fruit. It’s a ball-buster, in all the right ways.
Sometimes there is too much of a good thing though. If this didn’t open up (which is slowly is) it would be too much. With time it is giving way to a more perfumed nose, and more balanced flavors as the tannins settle down some. The touch of Merlot and Cabernet Franc are starting to come thru, which is what gave it it’s herbaceous undertones upon opening…and now helps balance things out as it goes.
(Sidenote, but Cabernet Franc is such an unsung grape…and wherever Surh Luchtel source theirs from – its grown perfectly. All of their wines, especially the Mosaique in years where it is CabFranc driven, are better off for it.)
As for the tasting notes…
- Very unfiltered. Lots of sediment on the cork and in the glass.
- Less fruit forward as the 2005, or at least less ‘juicy’ and robust. The fruit here is leaner and more structured.
- Very ‘minty’, cedary, earthy nose.
- Strong Oak – almost tastes ‘Australian’ in it’s intensity and oak style.
- Strong tannins….very powerful and intense.
- Beautiful flavors of cassis, blackberry, cherry.
- 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
- Alcohol: 14.7%
- 700 Cases made