2021 Lail Vineyards “Blueprint” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.
I hadn’t had the Lail wines in a while, but have always enjoyed them in the past, so it was great to catch up with this latest release, with the second label Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon offering up loads of dark fruit, floral tones, minty herb, spicy wood and gravelly loam notes leading the way here on the full bodied, but youthfully fresh palate. As this 2021 opens, you get classic Napa Valley blackberry, currant, dusty plum and blueberry fruits, along with mocha, pencil lead, acacia flowers, tobacco, shaved vanilla and lingering creme de cassis. The Lail Vineyards 2021 Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon, as the winery explains, comes from a selection of top sites across Napa, but mainly within the Rutherford bench. These separate lots are fermented separately and then blended after close to 12 months in barrel, and depending on the year Lail adds a small percentage of other Bordeaux varietals to fill the profile out and make the Blueprint approachable young, which is certainly the case here. The ’21 is a touch more lively and in my opinion less overtly fruity or oaky, which is right up my alley, and while concentrated and lush, there is a bit more 2014 like coolness and balance, making it a pleasure in the glass and great with a hearty meal.

The Napa Valley based Lail Vineyards, mostly known for their signature J. Daniel Cuvée, also does a negociant series of bottlings under the Blueprint label that the winery says are made to be modern California or Napa specific interpretation of the most classical Bordeaux varieties, attempting to capture a new world wine of old world elegance. Lail wants to use the ever-shining sunlight of the Napa Valley to transform the region’s grapes into robustly flavorful wines, with smooth ripe tannins, that can be drunk beautifully upon release, but still serious enough to age, as this 2021 clearly demonstrates with its polished structure. The winery says term ‘crowd pleaser’ comes to mind when you taste their “Blueprint” Cabernet Sauvignon, which is named after Jon Lail’s highly regarded architectural design achievements. The Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon, as noted, but with additions of Merlot and Petit Verdot to add a touch of grace, depth and spice. The grapes are sourced from vines all throughout the Napa Valley, but have a real Rutherford character, a the wine is traditionally fermented and it is aged for almost a total of 18 months in smoky/sweet French oak, of which the barrels are 55% new wood. This wine is right on the mark of what you’d want and expect from a well made Napa Valley Cabernet and offers up solid value at the price point.
($100 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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