I’ve written about Taylor Family Vineyards before, and with good reason: They remain, both for the money and in strictly objective terms, one of my favorite producers in California’s Stags Leap District.
Theirs is the classic California story: Vineyards purchased in 1976, planted in 1980, then selling beautiful, healthy grapes to a top-notch producer (Pine Ridge) for most of its existence until the decision was made to produce and bottle their own wine, starting with the 2002 vintage.
Taylor is a multi-generation family operation, with Sandy Taylor-Carlson and Phil Carlson working alongside Jerry and Pat Taylor, who made that fateful purchase back in 1976. Winemaker Gustavo Brambila helps turn these grapes into wines that can go toe-to-toe with any of Taylor’s more famous neighbors in the District. Seek them out: These are wines that, in classic Stags Leap fashion, are typically fabulous on release and possess the potential to age for years to come.
Taylor Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Stags Leap District
What a wildly evocative nose--one that you could easily get lost in--that speaks of graphite and cedar, a cigar humidor opened on a warm summer day, flowers a day past their prime and grown funky and sweet, and crushed black currants: Majestic and complicated. It tastes of black raspberries, high-cocoa chocolate, vanilla pods, melted black licorice, and espresso. This is a deep, rich, infinitely rewarding wine that shows classic Napa exuberance, Stags Leap District’s approachability at an early stage of evolution coupled with its ageability, and a plush fruit character that demands attention. What’s amazing here is the balance of acid, alcohol, fruit, and tannin: It’s both masculine and feminine at the same time. This could go for another 8 - 10+ years, but why wait?
Taylor Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006, Stags Leap District
This shows a giving, evolved nose, with sage and handsome aromatics of leather and cigar humidor. A palate of balanced acid and great concentration frames an appealingly varied range of flavors, including sappy creme de cassis, blueberry, cherry, raspberry, milk and dark chocolate, and a hint of grilled green bell pepper. It reminds me, in many ways, of a 5- to 10-year-old Lynch Bages, yet is still inextricably tied to its own Stags Leap District origins. Decant now, or drink 2016 - 2025.