The 2014 La Muse (2,800 cases) is a legendary effort. The wine offers an opaque purple color and a gorgeous nose of lead pencil shavings, blackberry, incense, Asian spice, cocoa, plum, and a touch of chocolate and barrique. On the palate, more cassis and blackberry come to the forefront. The wine is unctuous, with adequate acidity and a stunning energy underneath the massive fruit and body. This is a spectacularly fragrant and, at the same time, dense wine, with enough structure (somewhat surprising in this vintage) to last 35-45+ years. The final blend was 88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. This winery, one of the gems of the Kendall-Jackson portfolio of boutique wineries, debuted in 1998 and has been hitting on all cylinders since. I suspect top priority is given to Bordelais winemaker Pierre Seillan’s choice of the finest fruit he can find from Jackson’s holdings in Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill and Knights Valley. There are three Bordeaux-inspired cuvées made, with La Muse the Right Bank Pomerol style of wine dominated by Merlot, La Joie a Médoc-like blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, and Le Desir a St.-Emilion-oriented wine dominated by Cabernet Franc. Percentages of these principal grapes all change with the vintage, but those varieties are clearly the strength of each cuvée. Kudos once again to Pierre Seillan! (RP)
A gorgeous effort as well, the 2014 La Muse is a Merlot-dominated cuvee blended with 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. This deep ruby/purple-colored beauty boasts a terrific perfume of black raspberries, cassis, graphite, chocolate, and a beautiful earthy minerality. This isn’t your over the top, opulent Merlot and shows incredible class and purity, as well as full-bodied richness, high, yet integrated tannin, impeccable balance and a great finish. It’s not anywhere close to primetime (which is rare for a 2014) and needs 4-5 years at a minimum. It’s going to be incredibly long-lived. 97+
A huge, opulent wine, the 2014 La Muse wraps around the palate with tons of super-ripe dark red fruit, chocolate, spice and menthol. La Muse often shuts down after bottling, but the 2014 is still remarkably intense and voluptuous, with soft contours, silky tannins and exceptional balance. The purity of the flavors here is remarkable. (AG)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)