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. Lail’s winemaker is Philippe Melka, one of the finest winemakers in Napa valley, he has worked for Lail since the beginning, not to mention Dominus Estate in Rutherford and Château Petrus in Pomerol.
2019 Lail Vineyards • J. Daniel Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon
98-100 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. $449.95 per bottle. six packs
“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!”
99 Points Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee is just about pure perfection and another example of Napa Valley magic. All Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in 80% new French oak, it offers an incredible bouquet of pure cassis and blackberry fruits as well as textbook Pauillac-like notes of graphite, tobacco, toasted spices, and chalky minerality. Rich, full-bodied, and powerful, it’s one of those wines that somehow marries incredible intensity and richness with no sensation of weight or heaviness, perfect balance, and a layered, multi-dimensional style that’s hard to describe. It shows more tannins and chocolaty oak with air and needs to be forgotten for 4-6 years, and it will be a 40+-year wine. It’s heavenly juice.