Robert Parker 92
With the lowest alcohol (14%), the 2010 La Joie is composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Copious aromas of incense, unsmoked cigar tobacco, Christmas fruitcake, cedar, underbrush, black currants and a hint of espresso roast emerge from this medium to full-bodied, rich, concentrated red. It needs 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep well for 2 to 3 decades. This is the flagship, luxury, world-class winery of the late Jess Jackson’s portfolio of small, high quality estates. Jackson convinced Bordelais Pierre Seillan to come to California from St.-Emilion to make these wines, and Verite has been one of the classics for well over a decade. The La Muse cuvee represents a Pomerol-styled wine, La Joie a Medoc and Le Desir a St.-Emilion. These are long-term, concentrated, tannic efforts that usually require 5-10 years of bottle age, and are meant to age for at least three decades. The 2012s possess fabulous potential. It is nearly impossible to decide which of the three cuvees is the finest (it probably depends on your own personal stylistic predilections), but the alcohols are normal for a top California vintage, ranging from 14.1% to 14.3%. Obviously, 2011 was a much more challenging vintage, and the wines reflect that although they are unquestionably successful, even in this vintage. Pierre Seillan told me that the harvest was extremely late, and there had to be an enormous amount of selection done both in the vineyard and the winery to create these cuvees. A relatively cool, late-harvest year with a tiny crop, the 2010 vintage required a tremendous selection process as well as meticulous work in both the vineyard and winery. All three offerings have turned out to be surprisingly approachable for young Verite wines. A great vintage for Verite that rivals 2012 and probably what was achieved in 2013 is 2009. It was the type of vintage that Seillan desires ” high in tannin, high in extract, with incredible upside potential for all three cuvees. The 2009s are the most backward and powerful of the four vintages reviewed in this report. The alcohols ranged from 14.5% to 14.6+%. Tel. (707) 433-9000
Anticipated maturity: 2017-2047
Graphite, plums, smoke, licorice and incense jump from the glass in the 2010 La Joie. Rich, sumptuous and beautifully layered, the 2010 captures the essence of the vintage. The fruit is intense and super-concentrated, but at the same time, there is plenty of vibrancy and sheer verve in the glass. The 2010 needs at least a few years in bottle for the Cabernet Sauvignon tannins to start softening.
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2030