When someone or something achieves iconic status, it doesn’t get much more prestigious.
When I think of sports icons, Mickey Mantle comes to mind in baseball, Michael Jordan in basketball, Joe Montana in football, and Pele in that “other football” (i.e., futbol, or soccer).
When it comes to iconic wines, the Cask 23 cuvee from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars would have to rank at or near the top of any list.
In 1974, Stag’s Leap’s consulting winemaker, Andre Tchelistcheff, was roaming the cellar and tasting the newly fermented wines. Normally, virtually all of the “lots” — a name for each wine from a particular vineyard or part of a vineyard — would later be part of blending trials to achieve the ultimate cuvee for the vintage.
Along the way, Tchelistcheff sampled one lot that was so distinct from the others — beautifully balanced and amazingly flavorful — that he decided it should be bottled as a stand-alone wine. It was housed in a large cask with the numeral 23 imprinted, so that wine was named Cask 23.
Today, Cask 23 has evolved to a blend of the most distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the S.L.V. and FAY vineyards, melded to create a wine that’s known for its extraordinary depth and richness, yet not “over the top” or out of balance.
Every vintage of Cask 23 is special, but 2012 figures to go down in history as one of the best ever. Don’t take my word for it, though. On three of the wine world’s most important and respected 100-point rating scales, it was awarded 93 points by Wine Spectator, 95 points by Decanter, and 96 points by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.
Those are pretty impressive numbers — numbers that make Cask 23 every bit as iconic as Mantle, Jordan, Montana and Pele.