Sometimes lightning strikes and a winery like CLIFF LEDE goes on a roll as serious as rock ‘n roll. A synergy of meticulous effort and good fortune occurs, and suddenly you see scores from Robert Parker of 100 points for the 2013 Poetry, 98-99 for multiple Cabernet Sauvignons and 95+ for the remaining 80% of the lineup. It’s good to be Cliff.
Not to be overlooked is the wonderful 2012 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the finest expressions we’ve encountered of the distinctive terroir of Napa Valley’s precious sub-region of Stags Leap. It begins with a fruity but forceful nose of dark berries and cherry and violets. Then, additional notes of cassis, dark cacao, graphite and tobacco follow—all within the wine’s impenetrably dark purple color and lush concentration. What really stands out is the ultra-smooth texture and supple tannins that absolutely sing, building towards a finish of sublime length, saturating the palate. It’s interesting: the wine is glam and opulent yet lean—equally feminine and masculine. Soft curves with strong backbone, at the same time stylish, overt and bold. Is this Ziggy Stardust? David Bowie at his androgynous, glam rock best? The Starman, waiting up there in the sky, would probably agree. –J.M.