2016 Cliff Lede "Poetry" Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Cliff Lede

¥49,500 (incl. tax)

Very Low Stock

“… and the wine is bottled poetry,” said Robert Louis Stevenson on a visit to the Napa Valley in the 1880s. The same can be said for Cliff Lede’s Cabernet produced from low yielding, old vines growing on a hillside in the Stags Leap District. Overlooking the winery, the Poetry Vineyard boasts a south-west exposure, guaranteeing not only a beautiful view but warm late-afternoon sun. The vineyard is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon with a couple blocks devoted to Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The well-drained volcanic soil forces vines to focus more energy on seeking moisture deep in the earth than on producing grapes. As a result the berries are small and packed with flavor. The winery believes this wine is  “the highest expression of our Stags Leap District estate vineyard and all of its irresistible components are well apportioned and fabulously integrated even at such at young age.” Jeb Dunnuck praised it as yet “another magical wine from this team that ranks with some of the finest wines ever made from this valley. As with most 2016s, it has some upfront charm and accessibility, yet will be at its best with 4-6 years of bottle age and will keep for 3-4 decades.”


Winery Description

Elegant... brilliant color.... lush and velvety.... fine cherry and red berry flavors... soft tannins.... Those notes capture Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stags Leap AVA. In the summer, these jagged, southwest-facing hills, stretching from the northeastern Napa City limits to the outer edge of Yountville, are toasted by the hot afternoon sun but cooled by the nighttime fog that rolls in off the San Pablo Bay. This climate along with well-drained alluvial and volcanic soils are the reason why Stags Leap wineries focus almost exclusively on Cabernet – the district works magic with the Bordeaux varietals. 

Purchasing vineyards and a winery near Yountville in 2002 makes Cliff Lede (pronounced Lay-dee) a newcomer to the Napa Valley, yet he grasped instinctively that his estate’s raison d’etre was to make transcendent Cabernet. With his vineyard manager, David Abreu, he has revived or replanted the vineyards and divided them into blocks according to varietal as well as subtle shifts in soil type, clonal or rootstock selection. The 60-acre estate comprises two diverse sets of vineyard. On the valley floor, the Twin Peaks Ranch surrounds the winery and contains all five of the major Bordeaux varietals. The Poetry Vineyard – mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and a bit of Cab Franc and Petit Verdot – is situated on the hills that rise up from the opposite side of the Silverado Trail. 

In the state-of-the-art, gravity-flow winery, grapes are meticulously hand-sorted and the wines may be fermented in egg-shaped cement tanks as well as more traditional stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. More significantly, each vineyard block will be fermented separately, ensuring that the particular qualities of each small patch of soil will have a chance to blossom before the final blend is made. Though many of the choices made in the vineyards and winery are labor intensive and costly, Cliff Lede is willing to make them in order to fashion the sort of wine expected from a part of the Earth as special as Stags Leap. 

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Stags Leap District (Napa)
Winery Cliff Lede
Vintage 2016
Color Red
Varietal(s) 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 30.0
Case Size 34.0 x 32.0 x 21.0
Alcohol 14.8%
Product Code CF16PCB

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

99 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate; 99 points – Jeb Dunnuck; 94 points – James Suckling.

The nose intoxicates with blackcurrant, cassis, figs, vanilla, licorice, bay leaf and sage. On the palate, the fruit is taut and muscular, with velvet tannins framing layers of dark fruit that build into a crescendo of flavor and an extended finish of violets, lavender and spices. 



Handpicked grapes were rigorously sorted before being subjected to five days of cold soaking before the start of fermentation. Extended maceration for up to 6 weeks extracted flavor and fine-tuned the tannins. Aging lasted for 21 months in 81% new French oak.

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