Named for Robin’s father John Daniel, the J. Daniel Cuvée is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon blended from 3 vineyards: one in Calistoga, one on Howell Mountain (Mole Hill), and one in Oakville. This utterly flawless wine is going to regale you with “exuberant notes of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries, violets and unsmoked cigars with touches of garrigue, fragrant earth, powdered cinnamon, black olives and tree bark.” – The Wine Advocate
It’s not hard to figure out why Robin Daniel Lail is making some of the most elite wines in the Napa Valley. She’s had some time to prepare. Not only did she grow up looking over her father John Daniel’s shoulder in Inglenook Winery in Rutherford, she worked for Robert Mondavi for 5 years, then in 1982, she co-founded Dominus with Christian Moueix, and in 1983, co-founded Merryvale Vineyards with Bill Harlan, where she served as President for ten years. She founded Lail in 1995. We call that a track record. Lail’s winemaker is Philippe Melka, one of the finest winemakers in our little sylvan valley, not to mention the world. He’s worked for Lail since the beginning, not to mention Dominus Estate in Rutherford and Château Petrus in Pomerol. Not exactly a lightweight, as they say.
One-hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 75% new French oak, the 2016 J Daniel Cuvee is deep garnet-purple in color and offers up exuberant notes of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries, violets and unsmoked cigars with touches of garrigue, fragrant earth, powdered cinnamon, black olives and tree bark. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid frame of firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness supporting the taut, muscular fruit, finishing long and minerally.
Lail's 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon John Daniel Cuvée is absolutely fabulous. Dark, powerful and brooding, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon John Daniel Cuvée offers superb intensity and richness in all of its dimensions. Black cherry, plum, graphite, smoke, licorice and dark spice add to an impression of gravitas and pure, brooding power. Game, smoke, tobacco, grilled herbs, gravel and scorched earth undertones add the closing shades of nuance. Vineyard sources are Heimark, Vine Hill Ranch and Mole Hill.
The flagship 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee takes things up to whole other level and is a thrill a minute. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Mole Hill, Vine Hill Ranch, and Heimark vineyards that spent 20 months in 75% new oak, it sports a deep purple color as well as a spectacular bouquet of crème de cassis, black raspberries, graphite, and spicy oak. Possessing incredible purity, full-bodied richness, building structure, and a big finish, it’s a quintessential, age-worthy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that I suspect will require more than a decade to hit prime time and will keep for 3+ decades. Bravo!