Appellation Name: Stags Leap District
Where: Napa County in California
Officially Established: January 27, 1989
Location: In southeastern Napa Valley, centered along the Silverado Trail. The appellation is roughly bounded by Yountville Cross Road on the north side, Oak Knoll Avenue on the south side, and is only about one mile wide. For an exact, 8-step description of the official boundaries, please go here. To see a map of the area, please go here.
Background: The Stags Leap District has been growing grapes since the mid-1800’s, although the first Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines weren’t planted until 1961, by Nathan Fay. In 1976, the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon took first place at the famous “Judgment of Paris,” surpassing Bordeaux wines. This brought much attention to Napa Valley and the Stags Leap area. The unofficial but very popular reason for the name of the region arises from the legend of a stag who successfully eluded hunters by leaping to freedom across the District’s landmark peaks.
Wines/Varietals known for: The Stags Leap District is most famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon wines, and over 80% of the grapevines here are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Other red Bordeaux varietals, and Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay also do well here.
Recommended Wineries and Wines in Stags Leap District
Within the Stags Leap District, Two Guys From Napa recommend Baldacci Family Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Malk Family Vineyards, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Regusci Winery, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Robinson Family Vineyards, and Stags’ Leap Winery.
For details on the wineries, contact information, and our favorite wines, please use the navigation bar above to click on Favorites By Wine Region and follow the drop-down menu through Favorites in Napa County to the Favorites in Yountville and Stags Leap District link. Or, you can just click here.
Are Reservations Needed at the Wineries We are Recommending? At most of the wineries we suggest visiting, reservations are either required or recommended. Reservations are usually necessary for more involved tastings and/or tours. If you come to the Stags Leap District without reservations, and your group is less than 6 people, your best chances for a successful tasting experience may be at Clos Du Val, Pine Ridge Vineyards and Robert Sinskey Vineyards.
Favorite wines tasted recently made from grapes grown in the Stags Leap District Appellation:
- Chimney Rock 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
- Malk Family Vineyards 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
- Pine Ridge Vineyards 2015 Le Petit Clos Chardonnay
- Regusci Winery 2014 Mary’s Cuvée Chardonnay
- Clos Du Val 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé
- Malk Family Vineyards 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir
- Steltzner Vineyards 2013 Malbec
- Stags’ Leap Winery 2013 Twelve Falls Estate Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Merlot)
- Steltzner Vineyards 2014 Bench Vineyards Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot)
- Baldacci Family Vineyards 2013 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
- Chimney Rock 2014 Ganymeade Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Clos Du Val 2013 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
- Clos Du Val 2014 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
- Ilsley Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Malk Family Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pine Ridge Vineyards 2013 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
- Robert Sinskey Vineyards 2011 SLD Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- Stags Leap Wine Cellars 2014 Fay Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Stags’ Leap Winery 2013 “The Leap” Cabernet Sauvignon
- Steltzner Vineyards 2014 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Recommended Restaurants in Stags Leap District
Although there are no restaurants physically located within the boundaries of the Stags Leap District appellation, nearby Yountville has many dining options including the world-famous, Michelin-3-starred French Laundry. You’ll also find restaurants cited as “Bib Gourmand” (good quality, good value) by Michelin including Bistro Jeanty and Redd Wood, and other establishments so impressive they were listed in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurants of 2017 such as Ad Hoc, Bottega, Ciccio and Redd.
Two Guys From Napa recommend Ad Hoc, Addendum, Bistro Jeanty, Bottega, Bouchon Bakery, Brix, Ciccio, French Laundry, Hurley’s Restaurant, Mustards Grill, Ottimo, Protéa, Redd and Redd Wood in Yountville. FYI, Hurley’s also offers a Happy Hour between 4 pm and 6 pm Mondays through Thursdays.
For details on the restaurants, contact information, and our favorite dishes, please use the navigation bar above to click on Favorites By Wine Region and follow the drop-down menu through Favorites in Napa County to the Favorites in Yountville and Stags Leap District link. Or, you can just click here.
If you do travel to Yountville, there are two food purveyors in town we recommend as well. Atelier Fine Foods is an epicurean boutique offering an assortment of culinary delights: Cheese, Charcuterie, Foie Gras, Smoked Salmon, Crackers, Salumi and more. Kollar Chocolates is an artisan chocolate shop featuring Truffles in flavors such as Earl Grey, Espelette Chili, Fennel Pollen, Lavender and Passion Fruit. Once again, you can find additional details on the Favorites in Yountville and Stags Leap District page.
Lodging Suggestions for Visiting Stags Leap District
Within the appellation itself, Poetry Inn is a small luxury hotel perched on a hillside Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. The rooms range in size from 950 to 1,450 square feet and every room and suite has a west-facing view of Napa Valley. The 3-course Breakfast begins with coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, and pastries from Bouchon Bakery.
In nearby Yountville, the 62-room Bardessono offers a luxurious and peaceful hotel and spa experience. Their passion for the environment has even resulted in the hotel’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) Platinum certification. The onsite Lucy Restaurant provides fresh, innovative, garden-inspired cuisine as well as artisanal cocktails and wine.
A few blocks away, the popular Villagio Inn & Spa exudes the charm of a Tuscan village with 112 guest rooms and 26 junior suites. You can enjoy sparkling wine with your breakfast and scones with tea in the afternoon in a garden setting accented by vineyards, fountains and a flowing watercourse. The wellness centerpiece here is a 13,000-square-foot Spa offering sauna, steam room and multi-jet Swiss experience showers.
At the north end of Yountville, North Block Hotel is a modern boutique hotel sharing the same campus as an on-site spa and the Redd Wood restaurant. The communal courtyard and fireplace area are meant to be the foundation for social interaction, the pool has plenty of chaises, and each guest room also features its own patio or balcony to encourage conversations.
Also in northern Yountville, the Napa Valley Lodge recently completed significant renovations to create an even more welcoming experience. The property’s outdoor areas have been revitalized with beautiful landscaping, hammocks and poolside lounge chairs. The 55 redesigned guestrooms include new carpeting, bedding, artwork and veranda furniture. Amenities at the Lodge now include cruiser bikes, a state-of-the-art fitness room and a complimentary Champagne Breakfast Buffet.
For a Bed and Breakfast experience with French Country charm, consider Maison Fleurie in central Yountville. The main building houses a breakfast buffet including baked goods and hot entrées in the morning, afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres, and freshly baked cookies throughout the day. You’ll find 13 enchanting guestrooms, each with a queen or king bed, as well as a hot tub and a pool at this property.
As an alternative, you may also want to explore the city of Napa for lodging options. It’s only about 12-20 minutes away from the Stags Leap District and has accommodations at all price levels.
Other Information About Stags Leap District
Appellation Climate: The Stags Leap District is located on the eastern edge of Napa Valley. The rock facades of the palisades to the east reflect the heat of the sun onto the vineyards below during the day. In the evening, the hills funnel cooling marine air from the San Pablo Bay to cool the vines resulting in lower nighttime temperatures. The end result is a longer growing season of warm days and cool nights.
Appellation Soils: There are two main soil types in the Stags Leap Distict, primarily volcanic soils from eruptions that took place millions of years ago and a blend of loams from old river sediments.
Distance to get here: The Stags Leap District is just north of the city of Napa, about 20 minutes away from St. Helena. You can reach here in about 70 minutes from either San Francisco or Sacramento and Santa Rosa is about an hour away.
Other Local Attractions:
Stags Leap District itself is about three miles long, and barely one mile wide, centered around the Silverado Trail. Most of what you’ll find in the District are either wineries or homes. But, the cities of Napa and Yountville are close by and either can be reached in about 10-12 minutes.
Each year in April, the Stags Leap District Winegrowers present Vineyard to Vintner (V2V), an intimate wine event weekend with several wineries opening their doors to the public only once per year, for this occasion. The 3-day festivities typically involve Friday night Winemaker Dinners (hosted by 4-5 wineries at each dinner), Saturday Open Houses (featuring food, barrel tastings and live entertainment), and a Sunday Lunch with the District’s winery owners and winemakers. At the Lunch (or Brunch), attendees also get a sneak preview of the next Appellation Collection. FYI, some of our favorite dishes at this year’s Open Houses were a Roasted Beet Salad with Crème Fraiche and Pistachios from Chef Giovanni Guerrera, Beef Sliders with Caramelized Onions from Chef Ron Stainer, Sage Chicken Salad on Gougères from Chef Natalie Niksa and a Pizza with Chicken, Pesto and Corn from Napa Valley Crust.
What is the Appellation Collection? It’s a unique collection of limited release Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignons, assembled from about 15-20 wineries each year. It has a limited availability, typically for just 60 days. The 2014 Collection of 17 bottles is being released on October 15, 2017 and will be available for sale through the Stags Leap District Winegrowers until December 15, 2017. Based on our tastes at this year’s Vineyard to Vintner weekend, we are already impressed by the 2014 bottlings from Chimney Rock, Clos Du Val, Stags Leap Wine Cellars and Steltzner Vineyards.