CASK 23, our proprietary bottling produced only in particularly meritorious vintages, is drawn entirely from S.L.V. and FAY, our estate vineyards in the Stags Leap District. Over the years, we’ve learned that certain blocks and sub-blocks within these properties consistently yield grapes of exceptional quality. The choice of which grapes will go into CASK 23 is far from automatic, however. Even within sub-blocks of proven greatness, the quality of fruit varies from year to year and from vine to vine. We pick and vinify in small lots, then carefully monitor each lot’s development. The effects of aging, the toast of the barrel, even the barrel’s location in our caves all help determine whether a promising lot lives up to its full potential. Once the most impressive lots are identified, then comes the challenge of deciding which ones to use, in which proportions, to create the most beautiful expression of this particular vintage.
Now, in its youth, the wine boasts subtle, yet richly complex, aromas: a heady combination of caramel and brown sugar, cedar and sandalwood, dark plums and black cherries, rosemary and bergamot. On the palate, the smooth entry opens to flavors of dark stone fruits and cassis, black olives, cloves, and vanilla, which extend through the lingering finish. This is a wine that can easily age for a decade and beyond. Decant an hour beforehand if you want to enjoy it now with lamb medallions in Cabernet-black olive sauce or caramelized-onion tarts with a side of braised endive.