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. (RP) 99+
Deep, dark ruby. Very dark, slightly high-toned aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, minerals and violet; I would have guessed this wine included some Cabernet Franc (Mega Purple, said general manager Michael Updegraff, tongue in cheek I assume). Very concentrated and intense, with its almost port-like cassis and black cherry flavors leavened by saline minerality. The echoing finish features huge ripe tannins that saturate the sides of the mouth. This wine shows the opulence of the 2012 but a bit more obvious breed and structure. Another classic Napa Valley Cabernet with a lot going on. Incidentally, Updegraff considers this the top Napa Valley Cabernet vintage of his career, which began in 1982. (ST) 95+
This is really rich and decadent with sweet-tobacco, blackberry and blueberry aromas that follow through to a full body with rich, juicy tannins that are pointed yet soft, giving nice tension to the wine. Firm and beautiful. Big and rich. Needs time to mellow a little, but impressive.
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