As anniversary gifts go, a perfect score wouldn’t be the worst option! The 2019 vintage is a showstopper in every way. Classic and intense with aromas of blackberry jam, cassis and boysenberry fruit. The incredibly taut palate offers up an explosion of flavor, with fireworks of black cherry, dark chocolate, black tea and iron ore. Fine tannins carry the entire effort to a crescendo of lushness and generosity that lingers endlessly on the finish. Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky have outdone themselves, but you get to walk away with the prize.
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.
The 2019 J. Daniel Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon is a barrel sample with a deep garnet-purple color. It needs a little coaxing to unlock pronounced blackcurrant preserves, Black Forest cake and stewed plums scents with hints of star anise, clove oil, unsmoked cigars and tilled soil with a waft of roses. Full-bodied, the palate explodes with vibrant black fruits, framed by wonderfully plush tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant. Beautiful!