Our Wines / Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Introducing Lail Family Vineyards.

For a winery established less than 25 years ago, Lail Vineyards has a remarkably long back story. When Robin Daniel Lail launched Lail Vineyards in 1995, her flagship J. Daniel Cuvée was an homage to her father John Daniel, Jr. a visionary who helped to put Napa Valley on the world wine map. But her family’s Napa Valley roots were planted much longer ago. in 1977 she began working as Robert Mondavi’s personal assistant. Under his guidance, she launched the first Auction Napa Valley in 1981. After five years at Mondavi, she and her sister Marky co-founded Dominus Estate in 1982 with Christian Moueix and in 1983 she teamed up with Bill Harlan to establish Merryvale Vineyards, where she served as president for 12 years.

100 Points Robert Parker : One-hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 75% new French oak, the 2016 J. Daniel Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet-purple in color and offers up exuberant notes of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries, violets and unsmoked cigars with touches of garrigue, fragrant earth, powdered cinnamon, black olives and tree bark. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid frame of firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness supporting the taut, muscular fruit, finishing long and minerally.

A little background on Winemaker Philippe Melka:

On a whim, Philippe took a wine course in his final year of study at the University of Bordeaux while completing a geology degree – a moment that changed the trajectory of his life. He began his journey at Château Haut Brion where his passion for Cabernet-based blends and Sauvignon Blanc began and completed a Masters program in Agronomy and Enology. He was intrigued by the relationship between soil and wine quality, a fascination which continues today.

Yearning to learn more, he set out for Napa Valley (Dominus Estate), Western Australia (Chittering Estate), Chianti in Italy (Badia a Coltibuono) and Bordeaux (Chateau Petrus) where he divided his time between soil study and wine-making.  From the great diversity of terroirs he studied, Napa Valley revealed itself to have the most exciting potential for extraordinary wine.

Trained and influenced by some of the most notable personalities in the wine business, Philippe has devoted the past 19 years to winemaking here in Napa Valley – getting his start as a consultant with Lail Vineyards at its inception. Being recently named one of the top nine wine consultants in the world by Robert Parker underscores his truly remarkable gift in a career which has only just begun.