Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lail Blueprint Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Upon perusing the winelist at Woodmont Grill/Houston's Steak House in Bethesda, this wine popped out as an obvious choice that I wanted to try, and to compare to an earlier vintage of which I had a positive memory. I must admit I was disappointed. I realize now I was comparing this 'second' label with their flagship Daniel Cuvee which is named in a tribute to third generation patriarch and producer dating back to the original Inglenook Vineyards.

Lail Vineyard’s have a rich Napa history reaching back five generations to Gustav Niebaum founder of Inglenook. John Daniel who ran Inglenook which evolved over the generations to the present Lail Vineyards is third generation great granduncle of current generation owner/producer Robin Daniel Lail.

Lail have teamed with legendary winemaker Phillipe Melka who holds degrees in geology, agronomy and enology and 15 years of experience in France, Australia, Italy, and is known to produce a mix of old and new world style wines expressing the 'terrior' or sense of place of the vineyards - the relationship between the terrain, climate, soil, and the wine - crafted to achieve the highest quality the source site can offer.

I'm a big fan of winemaker Phillipe Melka and always welcome a chance to sample his handywork.

This Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon is made from fruit purchased from four separate vineyards in addition to Lail estate. It strives to provide classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at a more approachable price.

The 2008 Blueprint exhibits medium to full body, dark ruby/purple color, somewhat subdued black current and black cherry fruits accented with hints of licorice and roasted herbs with soft delicate tannins on a modest finish. The blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot.

RM 88 points. 

Landing in DC suburb Bethesda, we were waiting for our dinner table at Woodmont Grill who offered a selection of various wines by the glass. We were able to continue our Zinfandel 'flight' from the previous evening with two more Napa Valley Zinfandel based blends.

Brown Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel 2010

From the Chiles Valley, this is Brown's Estate Zinfandel, an expression of their house style. Medium-full bodied, moderately spicy black raspberry, black cherry and black currant fruits, flavors accented by dusty earth, briary asphalt, a touch spice, and toasty oak. A little too earthy with creosote overtaking the berry fruits for my taste.
RM 87 points. Robert Parker 91 points. Connoisseurs Guide 91 points.


Duckhorn Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine 2008

Medium to full bodied, dark and brambly, with black raspberry and black cherry fruits, cedar, dried sage, tobacco leaf and hints of dark chocolate and subtle hints of pepper, cinnamon, and clove spice.

RM 88 points. 

Blend of 68% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc

Tasted w/  Danny, George, and Nelson.