2005 La Joie Verite

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Average critic rating : 100.0 points



The myth perpetrated by Old World wine proponents is that California wines don’t age. Those critics need to taste Verité, because these wines are aging far slower than I imagined. The 2005 La Joie (67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec) tips the scales at 14.7% alcohol. It received the same 18 months in 100% new oak. It is interesting that Pierre Seillan said that he thought the high-elevation vineyards of Sonoma that go into Verité (self-serving, os course) are his greatest sites in the world for Bordeaux varietals. But remember – he’s from Bordeaux! This multidimensional wine, which enjoyed a 4-5 day cool, pre-fermentation maceration, has a provocative bouquet of blackberry, cassis, new saddle leather, Christmas fruitcake, graphite and high-quality unsmoked cigar tobacco. It is profound, extremely full-bodied and massive in the mouth, but not heavy or astringent in any way. This is perfection in a glass, and a tribute to what Sonoma can achieve. Give this wine another 4-5 years, and drink it over the following 30+ years. ||This has turned out to be a great, great vintage for Bordeaux winemaker Pierre Seillan and these three cuvées of the Jackson Family’s luxury brand of Verité. All of these wines are culled from some of the best high-elevation parcels that the Jackson family owned, with every vineyard being used between 500 and 2,500-foot elevations. Most of it emanates from their sites on Alexander Mountain Estate, Chalk Hill, Bennett Valley and Knight’s Valley. Case production varies from a low of 880 cases for La Muse to nearly 1,600 cases for La Joie. Of course, they are three totally separate wines, with La Muse the Merlot-dominated cuvée and Pierre Seillan’s California interpretation of a Pomerol; the La Joie his Sonoma version of a Medoc; and Le Désir a Cabernet Franc-dominated wine that is his version of a St.-Emilion. These wines performed unbelievably well. And, talking to Pierre Seillan, he rejects the notion that single sites produce the most complex wines. He believes that multiple sites build far more nuance and complexity, and add to the architectural complexity of a wine. All of these wines are young, still somewhat adolescent in their evolution, with probably 30 or more years of aging potential.|Verite, Tel. (707) 433-9000 eRobertParker.com.June, 2015

Verite is the late Jess Jackson's iconic North Coast Californian label. Regularly rated between 98 and 100 points by Robert Parker, the three wines in the range - the Pauillac-esque La Joie, the Pomerol-styled La Muse and the St Emilion-like Le Desir - are blended from Jackson's best parcels in Sonoma and are made by Bordeaux native Pierre Seillan. Jess first met Pierre in 1995 and asked him if he could Make something like Petrus over here" Pierre replied "Maybe, but why not make something better?".

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