We have been allocated just four 6-bottle cases of the stunning 2013 Lail J. Daniel Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvée is probably the qualitative equivalent of the 2012, but slightly more backward and coiled tight. Coming from three vineyards that Robin Lail uses in Napa Valley: one in Calistoga, one in Oakville and the other on Howell Mountain. This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in about three-fourths new French oak. Just under 1,000 cases are produced. The 2013 comes across like a Napa version of the famous Château Montrose in Bordeaux’s St.-Estephe. Earthy notes intermixed with chocolate, blackcurrant liqueur, grilled meats and spice are all present in this opaque purple wine. Graphite and floral notes are also present. It is full-bodied and ripe with beautiful purity and superbly integrated acidity, alcohol, wood and tannin. This wine needs another 4-5 years, as it’s less dramatic and flamboyant compared to the 2012. It should evolve and age beautifully for 30+ years.
With a viticultural legacy dating back to the late 1800s and proprietress Robin Daniel Lail’s great grand-uncle Gustave Niebaum, the founder of Inglenook Vineyards, there’s a lot of history in the Lail family. The wines continue on a very strong qualitative streak, with the less expensive Blueprint wines offering moderate value. Their top cuvées, the Georgia Sauvignon Blanc and J. Daniel Cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, are world-class quality.
One of the great Sauvignon Blancs made in this country is Robin Lail’s serious Sauvignon Blanc Georgia, made with the assistance of wine-consulting guru Frenchman Philippe Melka. This is always 100% Gamble Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from the cooler Yountville sector of southern Napa Valley. It is fermented in 100% new oak and aged 18 months in barrels prior to being released. They only make about 200+ cases of it. Robin Lail was generous enough to serve the 2004 Sauvignon Blanc Georgia to me just to give me an idea of how incredibly well the wine ages. The color looked relatively advanced, but then the aromatics and flavors were zesty and lively, with plenty of buttery melon, great acidity, well-integrated oak (almost none whatsoever) and a rich, honeyed mouthfeel. It is a quite sensational example of 11-year-old Sauvignon Blanc that was still in fabulous condition.
Rated 99+ points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Regularly $1,499.94 per 6-bottle case, net $249.99 per bottle
Sale Price $1,379.94 per 6-bottle case, net $229.99 per bottle
Even more rare is the Lail Mole Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2012…
A 3 acre vineyard on Howell
Mountain, it produced just 6 barrels from the 2012 vintage, now considered one of the best vintages for Napa Valley. We received just 2 three bottle wood cases.
Mole Hill is a three-acre Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard with loam soil approximately two feet deep. Planted in 1993, it is nestled beside a gorge on Howell Mountain at 1700 feet with a western exposure. The gorge acts as a vacuum pulling summer fog up from the valley floor, creating a unique micro-climate for the vineyard. Small rocks are prolific and rise to the surface like cream in coffee. In combination with soil depth, this creates a spartan home for the vines, generating a concentration of flavors in the grapes.
“Perfectly expressive of its Howell Mountain origins, the 2012 Mole Hill has a nose rich with star anise, boysenberry and blackberries. A well balanced palate shows dark cherry, dried sage, savory herbs, black raspberries and dark chocolate. So characteristic of this appellation, it has vibrant bright acidity and firm but fine, glossy and elegant tannins. Showing great balance and finesse, combined with power and scale, this 2012 Mole Hill is a showstopper!”
— Philippe Melka, Winemaker
$899.97 per 3-bottle case, net $299.99 per bottle