As a tribute to Napa Icon John Daniel Jr, owner of the famed Inglenook and father to Robin Lail, this flagship Cabernet is pure class. In true Philippe Melka fashion, it is deep, opaque, rustic and plush, with notes of plum, baked cherries and charred herbs. In a word, outstanding.
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.
Wonderful blackberry and blueberry aromas with tar and ink. Pipe tobacco. Full body and chewy tannins that are lightly dry and toned. Creamy and textured. A beautiful finish. Complete and fine-textured. Try after 2023.
The flagship cuvée, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in 75% new French oak. Rocking levels of cassis, graphite, vanilla, scorched earth, and tobacco all flow to a full-bodied Cabernet that has building tannins, a terrific, deep, layered mid-palate, and a great finish. It's still tight and backward on the palate, and in need of 4-5 years of bottle age, but it's a beautiful wine in the making.