2018 surely belongs in the ranks of top California vintages from the past two decades. The vintage was marked by ideal weather conditions from budbreak to harvest, which yielded balanced, layered, and structured wines, that will age for decades.
Replenishing winter rains and mild spring temperatures produced a late budbreak, followed by flawless flowering and fruit-set. The growing season that followed was long and relatively cool, encouraging slow and even ripening, allowing tannins to mature while retaining moderate sugar levels, and all-important acidity.
The 2018 La Joie displays a brilliant violet core with a thin rim of bright ruby. Generous fruit-forward aromas of ripe black currant and black cherry are followed by earthy notes of fresh conifer, dried mushroom, black olive, dusty clay, anise, and clove. The palate is rich and structured; possessing similar flavors of the nose, with refined tannins, well-balanced acidity and a complex, luscious finish.
76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec
Composed of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec, the 2018 La Joie displays an opaque purple-black color, slowly unfurling to offer profound notes of crème de cassis, preserved plums and boysenberries, with hints of rare beef, pencil lead, black olives and lilacs, plus touches of fertile loam and crushed rocks. The medium-bodied palate has jaw-dropping elegance and poise, featuring a solid backbone of firm, very fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the intense mineral-laced black fruit layers, finishing long with loads of savory and floral sparks. Simply breathtaking!
The 2018 La Joie does everything right and offers a Château Lafite-like style in both its aromatics and its elegant, seamless mouthfeel. Gorgeous blackcurrants, lead pencil shavings, damp earth, unsmoked tobacco, and woodsmoke nuances all develop with time in the glass and this is one of those wines that offers something new every time you come back to the glass. Rich, medium to full-bodied, perfectly balanced, and incredibly elegant, it has ripe, polished, yet substantial tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, and a thrilling finish. Give bottles 4-5 years and it will keep for 30 years or more.
Blackberries, black mushrooms, violets, flowers, and dark tobacco. Black truffle, too. Full-bodied, yet in check and pretty. The fine tannins frame the wine perfectly. Really long and focused. Seamless. Elegance with power. This will age incredibly well, but already so gorgeous to try. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Try after 2026, but attractive now.