**Two Stars** The most complex of the Stag's Leap lot, this fascinating effort is simply brimming with ripe cherries and very rich oak and shows intriguing touches of leather, coffee, cocoa and caramel throughout its length. It is fairly full and broad on the palate with fine balance and a mannerly, well-polished feel, and, if a slight touch of last-minute tannin jumps up at its finish, there is no doubt that a few years in bottle with smooth things out completely.
Bright, full ruby-red. Aromas of dark raspberry, dark chocolate and cola. Bigger and broader than the Fay but with less obvious early sweetness. Very ripe, spicy flavors of dark chocolate, espresso and coffee offer noteworthy depth. Spreads out horizontally to coat the palate on the back end, finishing with dusty, fine, building tannins. (ST)
Sleek and flashy, in the modern, no-expense-spared style of Napa Valley cabernet, the '02 Cask 23 is a rich and generous wine. Its superripe black fruit melds into the silken soft tannins as it takes on air. The soft richness of SLD tannin is the dominant impression, and the wine may gain complexity with age.
There’s a fruity, blackberry and cherry core, with a coffee and dill herbaceousness and plenty of oak. It’s soft, but should develop well, and could eventually surprise. Try holding until 2010.
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