(English) Wines of the Week: Delamotte & Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars


Delamotte 1999 Champagne Collection Blanc de Blancs  94
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Winemakers Series Lot No. 1 Napa Valley  94
by Ian D’Agata

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Delamotte 1999 Champagne Collection Blanc de Blancs                         94

A gorgeous Champagne with just enough bottle age on it to turn it into something richer, more mellow and more complex as compared to more angular, higher-acid younger vintages of (any) bubblies, the Delamotte 1999 Champagne Collection Blanc de Blancs is drinking beautifully now and is about as good a bottle of Champagne as you can hope to find for the money right now. Bright medium-pale yellow in colour, with a very fine perlage of small steady bubbles, the nose offers a panoply of aromas including vanilla custard, lemon preserves, honey, white flowers, sweet spices, apricot and fresh citrus fruits. Multilayered and complex in the mouth, with flavours that are very similar to the aromas, and a mellow, mouthcoating but still vibrant mouthfeel that lasts and lasts. Big enough to stand up even to white meat dishes, though I personally recommend pairing this beauty with baked fish of an oilier nature, this superlative bubbly speaks of the riper, lower acid year but does so with lift and long-lasting perfume. Much better than many more famous 1999 Champagnes (a generally overrated Champagne vintage) this is wildly better than more expensive names such as, for example, the disappointing 1999 Salon and slightly flabby 1999 Dom Perignon; it is also a benchmark example of why label drinking will only get you so far in life. For sure, in recent vintages Dom Perignon has been nothing but stellar, and the usually fantastic Salon is extremely hard to beat as a Blanc de Blancs in almost any vintage, but in 1999, the smart money is on Champagnes like this one by Delamotte. Do whatever you can to grab a bottle or two of this nectar from Delamotte (interestingly, in 1988, Bernard de Nonancourt of the Laurent-Perrier group bought both Delamotte and Salon uniting these two Blanc de Blancs specialists under one roof). Drinking window: 2022-2032.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Winemakers Series Lot No. 1 Napa Valley                94

No, not one of the famous Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon wines (or mostly so, given that many California 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines are in fact not at all so, despite what the labels say) known as Cask 23, SLV, FAY and Artemis, but rather a member of the many small-production, exclusive winery-only Stags Leap District wines made from hand-selected lots by the cellar’s winemaker and emant to highlight specific aspects of the respective terroirs, the Winemaker Series at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has long been characterized by some true gems (don’t miss out on the gorgeous 2019 Cabernet Franc Winemakers Series Lot No.1, for example). And so it is with the delicious Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Winemakers Series Lot No. 1 Napa Valley that is remarkably supple and ready to drink already now.

Bright deep ruby colour. Perfumed aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant reduction, sage, black olive, scorched earth, blonde pipe tobacco and coffee dominate. Then smooth and ripe, with mellow flavours echoing the aromas and very silky tannins that provide support on the luscious, refined mouthfeel. Harmonious acidity extends the vibrant flavours on the long back end that features repeating nuances of tobacco, olive and spicy black fruit. A lovely Napa Valley Cab Sauv wine very much in the refined, graceful style of Stag’Leap Wine cellars rather than the more typical heavy-set and often overly-ripe style of Napa Valley Cab, this 2015 beauty is ready to drink now and will be a favourite at any dinner you might decide to serve it at. Make no mistake about it: his is a gorgeous wine and your friends will thank-you. Drinking window: 2022-2030.

Ian D'Agata

赏源葡萄酒评论 Terroir Sense Wine Review主编
赏源风土研究院Terroir Sense Academy院长
知味 TasteSpirit 首席科学家

伊安·达加塔在葡萄酒领域耕耘超过30年,在葡萄酒品评、葡萄酒科研写作和葡萄酒教育等方面,都取得了杰出的成果,在葡萄酒行业和葡萄酒爱好者中,享有世界性声望。作为享誉国际的葡萄酒作家,他最近的两本著作《意大利原生葡萄品种》《意大利原生葡萄品种风土》被公认为意大利葡萄酒领域的权威著作;前者荣获2015年Louis Roederer国际葡萄酒作家大奖赛“年度最佳书籍奖”,他是唯一获此殊荣的意大利葡萄酒作家,并入选《洛杉矶时报》、《金融时报》、《纽约时报》评选的“年度葡萄酒书籍”榜单;后者被《纽约时报》和美国的Food & Wine杂志提名为年度最佳葡萄酒书籍。



Ian D'Agata