The growing season began without incident – months of winter rains replenished groundwater and invigorated the vines, followed by mild spring and summer conditions. After a brief heat wave in early September, the weather cooled again allowing for ideal harvest conditions. Picking began on September 2 and finished on October 2, one week before the disastrous Tubbs fire swept across Northern Sonoma County on October 8. Although this fire was one of the worst in California’s history, both the Vérité estate and wines thankfully emerged unscathed. As such, our 2017 vintage lots were either resting in barrel or completing fermentation, avoiding any concerns of smoke taint.
The 2017 vintage of La Joie presents complex aromatics of damson plum, cedarwood, and black olive with nuances of tobacco and clove. The palate stays true to the nose, where these rich flavors are balanced with well-structured tannins and bright acidity. The finish is elegant with persistent flavors that last well-after each taste. A truly remarkable wine that will mature gracefully. Tasting Date: May 2020
98+ Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate - A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2017 La Joie has a very deep garnet-purple color. It opens a little closed and broody, giving glimpses of blackcurrant cordial, espresso, charcoal and black truffles to begin, before blossoming out to a whole array of preserved black and blue fruits, dusty soil, crushed rocks and iron ore scents plus a waft of roses. The medium to full-bodied palate is built like a brick house, with firm, grainy tannins and a lively backbone supporting the muscular fruit, finishing very long and mineral laced. The alcohol weighed in at just 13.9% this year (14% on the label), making for a particularly elegant but no less impactful La Joie!
98 Points James Suckling - An elegant, complex red with currants, blackberries and hints of cedar, graphite and lead-pencil shavings. It’s full-bodied with polished, velvety tannins and a fresh, bright finish. Fluid and refined. 70% cabernet sauvignon 16% cabernet franc, 10% merlot and 4% petit verdot.
100 Points Jeb Dunnuck - Tasting like a great bottle of Château Lafite, the 2017 La Joie is based largely on Cabernet Sauvignon and brought up, I suspect, in mostly new French oak. Deep ruby/purple, with a heavenly bouquet of crème de cassis, lead pencil, cedarwood, graphite, and tobacco, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, an incredible sense of elegance and purity, building tannins, and a great, great finish. This majestic, regal Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is going to require a decade of cellaring to hit maturity (although it’s far from unapproachable today) and will see its 50th birthday in fine form. I followed this bottle for three days and it never showed a hint of oxidation. This is easily my wine of the vintage in 2017.