Elegant & Rich Merlot. Stags’ Leap Winemaker Dishes. VIDEO

After tasting through eight or nine superb wines at Stags’ Leap with winemaker & GM Christophe Paubert, I had to understand more about his philosophy and his background to understand what he is creating in Napa Valley.

If you can make a very good Cab why can you not make a very good Merlot?

Elegant & Rich Merlot. Stags' Leap Winemaker Dishes. VIDEO

Merlot has gotten a bad rap from Hollywood. The reality is when the grapes are harvested at precisely the right moment the wine it results in is robust, elegant and pairs perfectly with food.  Take it from Christophe Paubert, the French winemaker & GM of Stags’ Leap. With 85 acres of prime Stags Leap District grapes at his disposal, he relies on the region’s exceptional heating and cooling abilities to get him the right kind of grape results.

{VIDEO} Insights into Winemaking with Christophe Paubert

Paubert’s background includes winemaking in Bordeaux, Chile, Spain and Wallawalla, Washington. When he was in Wallawalla, he was making splendid Merlot.  He overheard people talking about Washington having much better Merlot, but not so much in Napa.

Elegant & Rich Merlot. Stags' Leap Winemaker Dishes. VIDEO
Christophe Paubert Winemaker

“If you can make a good Cab, why can you not make a very good Merlot?”  When he transferred to Stags’ Leap, they were already making a decent Merlot. But he understood the problem.  He realized people knew Merlot to be soft but translated that to weak Merlot. His second thought was that Merlot does not like heat. Merlot is not meant to be grown in Calistoga.  80% of his Merlot grapes come from south of Yountville. The heat can be 10-20 degrees cooler there in the summer.

Some of the most expensive wine in the world is Merlot.

The wine is big and bold.  Paubert tries to make the best Merlot he can and showcase the fruit in a traditional way. Science is a big part of this.

“For me, science is to understand tradition,” Paubert says, “we taste everything every day. We are very hands on. The inspiration for what I want to do is The Estate.

2013 Stags' Leap Winery Block 20 Merlot Napa Valley

Stags’ Leap Winery has a storied history.  Founded in the late 1800’s by Horace Chase & Mary Mizzner. They originally designed the Manor House, an architecturally stunning home which houses the sublime tasting room off the Silverado Trail.

Founders of Stags' Leap Winery, Horace Chase and Mary Minzer
Horace Chase and Mary Minzer on their wedding day.

Built in 1891, the stately property retains it’s elegance and has been transformed into an elegant tasting room complete with a huge outdoor covered porch.  You can almost imagine what it was like to live here off the Silverado Trail, just below Atlas Peak. It was an era when royalty visited and Hollywood beckoned.   The first vintage was released in 1893. Like many other wineries during prohibition, Stags’ Leap stopped wine production in 1908.  It later became a resort popular in the 1920’s with San Franciscans. Winemaking resumed once again in 1972 and they have been mastering the craft for decades.

If romance and extraordinary beauty are important to you, Stags’ Leap Winery is a destination you won’t want to miss. The history, incredible views and elegant wines will create everlasting memories.

You can visit Stags Leap Winery and taste by appointment.

Elegant & Rich Merlot. Stags' Leap Winemaker Dishes. VIDEO
This is the serenity of Stags' Leap Winery

Recent Post

Kelly Mitchell on Instagram

When great viticulture is an obsession you chose wisely and well. @vitnerd for @lecole41 on sustainability, great viticulture and award winning passion for vines.

Sadie Drury is a Walla Walla native who has been passionate about agriculture since her first job of picking strawberries at the age of 12. In 2007, Sadie decided to combine her passion for agriculture with her love for wine by attending the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College and pursuing a career in viticulture. In 2008, Sadie started an internship at Ciel du Cheval Vineyard where she moved up the ranks to Assistant Vineyard Manager. Sadie joined the North Slope Management team in early 2013 and took over the reins as GM later that year. She currently manages 6 vineyards including the famed Seven Hills Vineyard. Sadie is the current Chair for the Washington State Wine Commission. She is the 2019 Power’s Sabbatical Recipient, the 2020 Washington Winegrowers Erick Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year, and a 2021 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 Tastemaker.

#WashingtonWine #WallaWalla #lecole #Viticulture #sustainable #Sustainability #Vine #winelover #DrinkSustainable #TheWineSiren #SevenHills #wineeducation


From Carcassonne to Montpelier the beauty of @paysdocigpwines shines through. I`ll share more on my newest discoveries when I`m back in the US . ...

The bar @hotelricherdebelleval .... incredible. Have you been?!

#winetravel #winetraveler #thewinesiren #kellymitchell #wine #winelover #ginlover #barsofinstagram #beautifuldestinations #wheretofindme #france #montpellier #justdrinks #cocktailtime

Subscribe Today

Elegant & Rich Merlot. Stags' Leap Winemaker Dishes. VIDEO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Learn about new products, wine travel tips and the latest on wine, food and fab.