Founded in 1985 by Shari, Garen, Brandon and Shannon, Staglin Family Vineyard takes pride in the tradition of family ownership; their mission is to produce world class wines, with the aid of viticulturalist David Abreu, that reflect the distinctive character of their historic Rutherford Bench estate in the Napa Valley. The estate dates back to 1868 and the Staglin Family view themselves modestly as ‘stewards’ of the land, the latest in an historic line. Consequently, they farm the vineyard organically, and produce the wines in a state of the art underground production facility.
The wines include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay together with a very small amount of Sangiovese, each expressive of the unique characteristics of their Rutherford estate, and reflective of the fastidious care and attention invested in their viticultural and production practices.
“Great wines for great causes” has long been the company motto. Shari and Garen Staglin’s son, Brandon, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1990; with treatment and family support, Brandon was able to recover. However the family realised that advancements in scientific research were vital to understanding mental illness; subsequently the Staglin Family have donated and raised in excess of $800 million for mental health charities.
2014 ESTATE CHARDONNAY
Barrel ageing: 10 months
Oak: 54% new, 46% used
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
2014 was another fantastic growing season. After one of the warmest and driest winters on record, as expected, budbreak was early, even earlier than 2013. Though offset by judiciously timed February rains, the continued drought conditions limited vigour in the vines, promoting balanced and compact growth. Some cool days in early May contributed to a fruit set that was a bit off the pace of the previous two vintages with yields almost 10% lower. Though generally an earlier season, the Chardonnay harvest began 4 days later than in 2013, but nearly all of the fruit was picked off of the Estate by the end of August, almost a full week earlier. The grapes were picked in the cool early mornings to maintain their freshness, natural acidity and delicate flavours. Staglin use traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques, while respecting the unique quality of the fruit the vineyard delivers. The grapes are hand sorted, whole cluster pressed and then barrel-fermented. They almost completely restricted malo-lactic fermentation to preserve acidity and highlight crispness, this year allowing only a small percentage to go through it for a bit of increased complexity and texture. Finally, the wine is aged on its lees for ten months in a combination of regular and large format barrels with weekly ‘batonnage’ during the first seven months only in the regular format barrels with a view to optimising the aromatic freshness of the wines.
The 2014 Chardonnay is rich, layered and powerful, with plenty of apricot pit, orange blossom, honey, mint, peach and spice nuances. This is the first year in which the estate incorporated a measure of larger format barrels in the blend. As always, the Staglin Chardonnay is very distinctive for its breadth and power, although the 2014 is still holding quite a bit in reserve. There is a real sense of phenolic intensity in 2014, so another year or two of bottle age will be quite helpful.
2008 ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Barrel Aging: 21 months
Oak: 100% French: 89% new, 11% used
Blend: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
2008 was a challenging yet rewarding year. The winter rains stopped completely after January and set up for a long dry summer that was preceded by one of the worst frost seasons on record. The lack of rain and the intensity of the frost resulted in a growing season defined by vineyard stress, consistent though not excessive heat and heartbreakingly low yields yet our vineyard crew was able to deftly manage these conditions and provided us with small-berried fruit of great intensity and character.
An archetypal, old world Sauvignon nose laden with classic aromas of cassis and black cherry redolent with violet-lifted black olives and green peppercorns rising out of an earthy bed of resonant loam and pure humus spiced by a tease of pimento, cedar and bay leaf cascades onto a rich and vibrant palate of anise highlighted blackcurrants and peppered plums speckled with shavings of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs energized by tingly notes of powdered minerals and fresh acidity that also gives life and length to the well formed tannins.
2011 STAGLIANO ESTATE SANGIOVESE
Barrel Aging: 15 months
Oak: 100% French: 63% new, 37% used
Blend: 100% Sangiovese
Tasting Notes :
As a whole, the 2011 growing season was cool and moderate with lots of sunshine and minimal fog throughout the summer. It started as one of the wettest and longest lasting winters of recent times with treacherous conditions during flowering which naturally limited set and significantly reduced yields. After some unseasonably late rains, a beneficially dry and fog free pattern established itself allowing the vines long, sunlit days to ripen and mature the fruit at lower levels of sugar and higher levels of acid resulting in fresh and expressive wines.
The bright and animated 2011 Stagliano is a profuse lavender and periwinkle lifted red fruit cocktail of Bing cherries, Merryweather plums, redcurrants and Artic raspberries. The wine deepens and darken with air to reveal a backdrop of blackberries and dried blueberries teased by notes of bay leaf, tarragon and dried red roses. This beautifully structured vintage finishes with a clean, fine-grained finish of velvety, tea leaf-like tannins. Though showing admirably well now, a few additional years in the bottle will allow this wine to fully develop and evolve.