2021 Lail 'J Daniel Cuvee' Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley


“The 2021 growing season was flawless, yielding a smallish crop of intensely flavored berries possessing great intensity and impeccable balance. Vibrant aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets and dark chocolate burst forth. The signature flavors of blackberry preserves, boysenberry and spice are here in spades. It is elegant and silky, and at the same time powerful, complex and insistent. The tannins are focused, ripe and round, with supporting acidity that is bright and lively. There is a concentration, clarity and drive that add up to a gorgeous expressive of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at its very highest level.”—Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky, winemakers

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.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Philippe Melka & Maayan Koschitzky
20 months
Oak Treatment:
100% French Oak, 75% New
Napa Valley
Total Varietal Composition %:
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol %:
Score Wine Advocate:
Score Wine Enthusiast:
SKU #:
750 ml Bottle

Wine Advocate

Lail's 2021 J. Daniel Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon blends lots from several high-end vineyards, including Heimark (Calistoga), Vine Hill Ranch (Oakville) and Steltzner (Stags Leap), plus Lail's own Mole Hill on Howell Mountain. It's an exciting wine, starting from the pulse quickening aromas of raspberries and black cherries tinged with dark chocolate. In the mouth, this full-bodied beauty is richly concentrated, with a sensuous texture somewhere between silky and velvety, while the softly dusty finish shows terrific length and a spine-tingling hint of licorice. To reduce this wine to deceptively simple yet hard-to-pin-down words, it's complex, harmonious and elegant, yet it's enough of its place that it could only come from Napa Valley


Jeb Dunnuck

One of the finest wines in the vintage, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Dutch Henry Canyon area in Calistoga, Vine Hill Ranch in Oakville, and Stelzner in Stags Leap (which was added in 2018). It spent 20 months in 75% new French oak. Still tight and inward, it has sensational purity in its currant, mulberry, truffly earth, graphite, and leather aromatics. These carry to a full-bodied, rich, incredibly concentrated 2021 that has the vintage’s fresher, focused style, ripe tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. It's going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and evolve for a quarter of a century.


Wine Enthusiast

Matching power with complexity, Robin Lail's densely concentrated, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon once again goes deep in black currants, blackberries, cocoa and toasted oak flavors. Velvety, mouthcoating tannins give the structure for a long aging period. Best from 2027–2040. — Jim Gordon