PICK of the RACK: Lail Vineyards | Blueprint | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2009 | $50 | 91 pts

Aromas:  blackcurrant; black tea; pencil shavings
Character: dry; full-bodied; silky and elegant; dusty tannins; medium acidity; forward oak
Flavors:  black- and blue-berries; sweet cured tobacco; touches of tarragon and spice; mineral undercurrent
Food Pairing:  crisped pork belly; beef shortribs; crispy duck; roasted pork loin

This is a young, gorgeous, and flirtatious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that springs from a great winemaking heritage.  Lail Vineyards was founded in 1995 by Robin Lail, great-grand niece of Gustav Niebaum, who in 1879 founded the great and storied Inglenook estate in what is now the hamlet of Rutherford, California, which lies at the center of the eponymous Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA).  Since the mid-’70s, the Inglenook estate has been owned by Francis Ford Coppola (under various names, including “Niebaum-Coppola” and “Rubicon Estate,” until the “Inglenook” name was restored just this past year), but with Lail Vineyards Robin and her daughters are ushering their family’s winemaking legacy onward by producing their own top-notch Napa Valley wines under the deft hand of winemaker Philippe Melka.  Lail’s flagship wine – “J. Daniel Cuvee” – is a wonder of Napa Cabernet winemaking (in any vintage) that benefits from longer-term cellaring.  The Blueprint Cabernet (featured here) also offers classic Napa Cabernet characteristics, but is better suited for immediate enjoyment.  The 2009 is very fine, with all the big, dark, and brambly blackcurrant – tobacco – mineral – sweet oak notes expected of Napa Cabernet, but which are delicately interwoven around a silky, luscious body.  The wine will rewared you best with an hour’s worth of decanting, and will pair beautifully with any number of rich, meaty dishes.

Availability:  Lail Vineyards produced 1,873 cases of the 2009 Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is available through the winery at www.lailvineyards.com (where you can also get a flavor of Robin’s multi-generational winemaking heritage).  It also may be found and ordered through various online wine merchants.

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One Response to PICK of the RACK: Lail Vineyards | Blueprint | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2009 | $50 | 91 pts

  1. Robin Lail says:

    Scott and Richard,

    Thanks a million for your smashing review. Do come by for a tasting when time permits.

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