2020 SLV Cabernet Franc

2020 SLV Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc


S.L.V., also known as Stag’s Leap Vineyards, is the winery’s first vineyard.  Planted in 1970, this vineyard achieved international fame when three-year-old vines (1st crop) from the 1973 harvest produced a wine that stunned the wine world when it bested some of France’s greatest wines in a 1976 blind tasting known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Today, this history-making vineyard continues to produce wines with layers of complexity, spicy intensity and excellent structure—promising long life and ageability.

Winemaker Marcus Notaro took out the little bit of Merlot that was planted in S.L.V. and replaced it with Cabernet Franc. Marcus is a big fan of Cabernet Franc and knew it would thrive in S.L.V.

The wine is 97% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon (Block 2A).


A dry and hot growing season, coupled with a global pandemic, and multiple wildfires made 2020 a year we won’t forget. Due to the dry winter, we started more tillage than normal in February to preserve soil moisture and reduce competition. Rain right at bloom interrupted fruit set and provided a “natural fruit thinning” that brought the crop in balance relative to the dry soil conditions. We were excited during the heart of the growing season, as vines were in balance, and the timing of impactful viticulture practices (leafing, crop adjustment, etc.) was nearly perfect. Several heat events, including a three-day heat spike over Labor Day weekend, led to an early harvest. This was the year of the LNU Complex Wildfire and the Glass Fire Complex. As we do every vintage, we taste grapes daily in the vineyards and back up what we are tasting with lab analysis. We are fortunate to have ready access to our own lab as well as the tools necessary to make educated picking, winemaking and bottling decisions, ensuring overall wine quality. The warm weather this vintage produced wines with a riper character. We are very pleased with the resulting wines from the 2020 vintage (although there won’t be as many bottles) to carry our legacy forward. 


This inaugural S.L.V. Cabernet Franc has lovely jasmine aromas with boysenberry, ripe plums, and floral notes. Full rich and ripe tannins, plush mid-palate with a touch of oak dust and mineral notes on the finish. This wine's vibrant flavors and excellent structure point to long-term aging potential.

97% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
20 months in 100% new French oak (Marcel Cadet)
0.50 g/100ml