Cabernet collectors take note! Here is an incredibly deep and exceptionally structured rendition that more than deserves the much-overused term 'classic,' and its marvelous combination of stamina, strength, layering and precise, terrifically sustained varietal fruit is one that is rarely equaled let alone surpassed. As great wines will inevitably do, it reveals a bit more of itself with each sniff and sip, and, even though it shows an unexpected sense of polish and manages to avoid the pronounced tannic harshness of youth, this is one that is some time away from living up to its certain promise. It is not inexpensive, but it makes good on the boast that its price tag poses.
The flagship wines include the 2014 J. Daniel Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon, which comes from three sources – the family vineyard called Molehill at a 1700-feet elevation on Howell Mountain, the Vine Hill Ranch Vineyard and Heimark Vineyard in Calistoga. A gorgeous 2014, with notes of graphite, mulberry and blackcurrant, this full-bodied, opaque purple wine offers terrific fruit purity, sweet tannin, and a long finish of a good 45+ seconds. It was aged 19 months in 75% new French oak and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are 1,064 cases, and it can be drunk now or cellared for another 25 years. (RP)
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon John Daniel Cuvée turned out beautifully. In fact, it is even better from bottle than it was from barrel. Deep, unctuous and powerful, but with good freshness, the 2014 hits all the right notes. Specifically, the 2014 offers tons of richness, but without the heaviness or raisinated character that has defined some previous years. This is a striking set of wines from Robin Lail and her longtime winemaker Philippe Melka. The 2014 Cabernets are among the highlights. Those wines capture all the intensity that is typical here, but with less of the overripe quality of some past years. (AG)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)