The Evolution of a Cabernet Sauvignon

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Stellareese recently released their 8th vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and I’ve had the pleasure of trying each one, multiple times. Guess I’m sort of an expert on the Stellareese Cabernet. But insight does not a great wine make. It’s what’s inside that counts, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about.

Rachel and Geoff Davies launched Stellareese in 2007, making “Marcey’s Vineyard” Cabernet. To this day, Marcey’s Cab soldiers on as their flagship wine. While the vineyard stays the same, Geoff and Rachel’s winemaking home has turned a few pages. That 2007 was made at T-Vine Cellars, where Rachel worked in sales and production. When T-Vine sold in 2009, they used Von Strasser Winery in Calistoga. Then in 2013, Geoff changed careers, working in the cellar at Outpost Winery on Howell Mountain, Stellareese Cabernet in tow. Geoff’s now the winemaker. That said, winemaking continues to be a joint effort.


Geoff and Rachel Davies of Stellareese Wines

2015 is the third vintage of Stellareese made at Outpost - a boon for the long-term success of the brand. Winemaking equipment is world-class, and access to the best wine barrels make a big difference in quality. Most important, however, is the wine culture. Wine making ideas and philosophies are shared amongst those who make world-class wines earning sky-high scores and reviews there. It’s a wine making environment that works for winemakers that are confident in their abilities and always striving to be better.

Let’s talk Cab, as in STELLAREESE Cabernet “Marcey’s Vineyard” 2015. Would you mind if I state it’s the best Stellareese I’ve had yet? Hope not, because I think it is. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the mature vines of “Marcey’s” in Calistoga. Now, it’s awesome-ness is not based on extreme concentration…my “elephant on a tightwire” analogy does not apply here. Rather, this is a tiger: strong, limber and beautiful.

Here’s my 2015 Stellareese Cabernet review, as posted on

“Generous, silky, long-lasting fruitiness sets the Stellareese 2015 Cabernet apart from its peers. I get dark red cherry, blue plum and strawberry preserves with bits of pomegranate, pink peppercorns, black tea with dried rose petals, cocoa nibs and cigar wrapper lending support. The flavors and textures are generous and long. This is a very good example of how a Cabernet can be full-flavored and rich while, at the same time, float on your tongue. Enjoy this delicious Cabernet now through 2025.” $55/bottle
DDWA Score 93. Value Rating: 3.4: VERY GOOD VALUE.
— Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor, 3/2/2019

Are you a Chardonnay fan? I should say, are you a fan of REALLY GOOD Chardonnay? A Flavor Mountain exclusive, the Stellareese Chardonnay “Moon Mountain Vineyard” 2018 is available from Stellareese on pre-sell. It’s a “Mountain Chard” from the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas Mountain range. “Place” explains the nerve, acidity and rocky goodness in the wine. Low malolactic and lees-stirring has resulted in a fresh bread, cream, no-butter taste & texture. The fruits fall into the citrus category: dried lemon and grapefruit zest, quince paste…may I give you a little bit of apple butter. Putting this to the “would my wife like it?” test, this is a definite YES. (Buttery, soft Chardonnays are not her thing. She needs her Chardonnay to have PEP. This has PEP.)

I tasted from barrel on March 1. It will be bottled this August with more lees-stirring coming (more pastry, more creamy texture). About 50 cases will be bottled. Purchase now, delivery this fall. Please email me direct to purchase the Chardonnay as it is not on the Stellareese website. Details below.

The Stellareese Offer

Enter your discount code at check-out. Members of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor get the Member’s Price.
Join here for access to Member’s Price.

STELLAREESE Cabernet Sauvignon
"Marcey’s Vineyard"
Calistoga, Napa Valley 2015

Read my review
$55 full price
Reader’s Discount 5%: discount code - FLAVE
Member’s Discount 15% ($47/bottle):
contact Dan for Member's discount code

"Moon Mountain Vineyard"
Moon Mountain, Sonoma 2018 (pre-sell)

$35 full price
Reader’s Discount 5% ($33)
Member’s Discount 15% ($30)
Will be bottled August 2019. Fall 2019 delivery.
Contact Dan to purchase the Chardonnay.

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For the Stellareese Cabernet 2014 and 2015 enter your discount code at check-out.
Members of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor get the Member’s Price.
Join here for access to Member’s Price.
*Discounted prices are rounded to nearest dollar.