Friday, February 3, 2023

Stag's Leap Napa Chardonnay at McCormick & Schmicks

Stag's Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay at McCormick & Schmicks

Friday night dinner out, we dined at McCormick & Schmick in nearby Oak Brook Terrace (IL). 

Seeking seafood for a healthy dinner, we selected a classic Napa Chardonnay as an accompaniment. 

I was hoping for a Sole or similar delicate white fish, preferably in a Meunière or Beurre Blanc sauce, but the entree on offer had a pretzel crust and a mustard sauce. Hence, I opted for the Whiskey Glazed Salmon with Colcannon Potato Cake and Irish Whiskey Hollandaise on a bed of spinach. 

Linda chose the 10 Greens Chopped Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Olives and Tomatoes with baked Salmon

This classic Napa Valley Chardonny is from Stags’ Leap Winery, within the acclaimed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, one of the oldest wine estates in the region, established in 1893. Stag's Leap sources grapes from their 80-acres of estate vineyards and from quality-focused growers.

Christophe Paubert is Winemaker and General Manager at Stags’ Leap Winery. His career has spanned the industry from sales to winemaking, and his impressive background includes positions at legendary Chateau d’Yquem and Grand Cru Classe' producer Gruaud-Larose in Bordeaux, as well as projects in Chile, Spain and Washington State. Eventually, the terroir of Stags’ Leap drew him to California and his current position.

The 2020 season was far from the typical harvest season. With a warm, dry winter, then rain and cooler weather that didn’t arrive until the end of March turning to a mild spring. Workers in the vineyards and winery were subjected to extensive safety protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Summer brought cool mornings and warm days, but then harvest was interrupted by wildfires across California, which came as the harvest began. Stag's Leap were fortunate that none of their vineyards were impacted by the active fires.

Stag's Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay 2020

The grapes for this Napa Valley Chardonnay were sourced from the cooler southern appellations within Napa Valley, where fog from the San Pablo Bay helps cool the vineyards throughout the growing season, allowing for ideal preservation of freshness and acidity. 

The majority of the fruit came from the Carneros AVA which provides citrus, mineral, and crisp apple notes, with a smaller percentage coming from the Oak Knoll AVA, which contributes more tropical and stone fruit characteristics. These vineyards consistently produce Chardonnay ideal for the Stag's Leap style of winemaking with fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity and vibrancy.

The white wine showed a fine vintage year, while the red wine harvest proved to be one of the most challenging in history. The resulting 2020 wines were of high quality with concentrated flavors and excellent acidity, especially for varieties like Chardonnay.

This is 100% Chardonnay fermented and aged in 25% stainless steel, 25% new oak and 50% neutral oak barrels for 7 months.

This label was awarded 94points by Rebecca Murphy of

Light straw colored, medium bodied, crisp, bright, clean, dried herbs with mineral and floral accents predominant over the subtle citrus and pear fruits. 

RM 90 points.