2014 Lail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee

Year: 2014
Appellation: Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 95-97
Vinous Media: 95
Connoisseurs' Guide: 97
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.9%
Price :


"The barrel sample of the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvée (100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the identical sources) exhibits beautiful, sweet tannin, loads of charcoal, a full-bodied flavor profile of blue and black fruits, softer tannins and a more open-knit, up-front appeal than the somewhat firm and more closed blockbuster 2013. In keeping with this vintage character, the wine is very showy, charming and should drink beautifully when released in a year or so, evolving gracefully for at least two decades.

With a viticultural legacy dating back to the late 1800s and proprietress Robin Daniel Lail’s great grand-uncle Gustave Niebaum, the founder of Inglenook Vineyards, there’s a lot of history in the Lail family. The wines continue on a very strong qualitative streak, with the less expensive Blueprint wines offering moderate value. Their top cuvées, the Georgia Sauvignon Blanc and J. Daniel Cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, are world-class quality.

One of the great Sauvignon Blancs made in this country is Robin Lail’s serious Sauvignon Blanc Georgia, made with the assistance of wine-consulting guru Frenchman Philippe Melka. This is always 100% Gamble Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from the cooler Yountville sector of southern Napa Valley. It is fermented in 100% new oak and aged 18 months in barrels prior to being released. They only make about 200+ cases of it. Robin Lail was generous enough to serve the 2004 Sauvignon Blanc Georgia to me just to give me an idea of how incredibly well the wine ages. The color looked relatively advanced, but then the aromatics and flavors were zesty and lively, with plenty of buttery melon, great acidity, well-integrated oak (almost none whatsoever) and a rich, honeyed mouthfeel. It is a quite sensational example of 11-year-old Sauvignon Blanc that was still in fabulous condition." (WA)

"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. " (VM)

"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. Reviewed: April 2017" (CG)

Winery Notes:
WINEMAKER NOTES “2014 was another drought year in the Napa Valley, again yielding a crop of small, intensely flavored grapes (especially from our two mountain vineyard sites). As is often the case, this J. Daniel Cuvée is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, showing off the beautiful energy and purity of this vintage. The aromas and flavors tilt toward the black fruits family, including black raspberry, black cherry, boysenberry and blackberry. It has that creamy, regal mid-palate that is a signature of this flagship bottling, and a perfect balance that should allow it to grow and improve for many years to come.” -Philippe Melka, Winemaker