A small valley within the greater Napa Valley, framed by dramatic palisades on the east, and the Napa River on the west, Stags Leap begins about 6 miles north of Napa. It has stunning natural beauty, a lively history and is known for elegant, world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, its dominant variety. The District was named Stags Leap over a century ago, from a Wappo Indian legend about a mythic stag that leaped to freedom off the highest point of the Palisades to escape from hunters, before disappearing into the mist. The Stags Leap area gained international notoriety when a 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon beat out classified Bordeaux estates such as Mouton-Rothschild and Haut-Brion, winning the Blue Ribbon at the 1976 Judgment Of Paris — to the utter shock of the French judges. This put Stags Leap squarely in the international spotlight. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, home of the winner, is one of Napa Valley’s earliest wine estates. Today visitors come to the winery to taste its marvelously smooth Cabernet Sauvignons and to admire the stunning views from every angle. The nearby restaurants are also world-renowned for fine dining. Just a few miles west of the Silverado Trail — take the District’s northern boundary, the Yountville Cross Road — is Yountville, home of the fabulous Bouchon Bakery, where you can go for tasty pastries in the morning. For dinner, dine in Yountville’s top restaurants: The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Bottega and Bistro Jeanty; StagsLeapDistrict.com.
While visiting Stags Leap, you can easily go to tastings at the below wineries in two days. Some have intimate cave tours; others have food pairings and sophisticated education programs with on-site sommeliers.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
The mecca of fine Cabernet in the Napa Valley, this place is home to the winner of the heralded 1976 Tasting Of Paris; 5766 Silverado Trail Napa; Cask23.com.
Clos Du Val Winery
Clos du Val has a big emphasis on the Cabs that first catapulted this winery to international fame so many years ago; 5330 Silverado Trail Napa; ClosDuVal.com.
Pine Ridge Vineyards
Pine Ridge Vineyards produces award-winning wines in a distinctly classic style that meets the highest wine standards; 5901 Silverado Trail Napa; PineridgeVineyards.com.
This stunning hilltop winery is where unique Heritage vines were born to the thrill of wine aficionados around the world; 6121 Silverado Trail Napa; SilveradoVineyards.com.
Cliff Lede Vineyards
Each one of this winery’s 39 vineyard blocks is named after a rock song — think “High Fidelity” and “Rock Block.”; 1473 Yountville Cross Road; CliffLedeVineyards.com.