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.
2018 Le Désir has a dark inky appearance with a violet hue that extends to the rim. The compelling characteristics of Cabernet Franc are expressed on the nose and palate with flavors of crunchy cranberry, ripe raspberry, red currant, dried sage, crushed mint, and cinnamon bark, followed by spice cake, subtle vanilla liquor, and singed toast. The persistent finish and bright acidity suggest the wine will continue to evolve in the cellar for many years to come.
82% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, 6% Malbec
Composed of 82% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot and 6% Malbec, the 2018 Le Désir was aged for 16 months in 100% new French oak. Deep garnet-purple in color, it is a little closed to begin, soon unfurling to offer glimpses at notes of kirsch, raspberry preserves, and mulberry scents, plus hints of cedar chest, crushed rocks, bay leaves, Sichuan pepper and lavender with a waft of sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate has tons of freshness to support the mélange of preserved red and black fruits, textured by grainy tannins, finishing with a lingering peppery kick. It may require just a little more time to come around than the La Joie and La Muse, and then I suspect this beauty is going to reward the patient.“
The Cabernet Franc blend of the trio, the 2018 Le Desir is 82% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, and 6% Malbec, and as with all these wines, it was brought up in new barrels. Ruby/purple and not completely opaque, it offers up a classic Cabernet Franc nose of mostly red fruits, spring flowers, damp earth, cedary spices, and truffle. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it shines for its incredible elegance and purity more than outright power, yet it still brings plenty of richness. With ultra-fine tannins, perfect balance, and one heck of a great finish, it's another great, great wine from this estate.
Blackberry, violet, and crushed stone on the nose. Pure fruit, but reserved and tensioned. Full-bodied with firm, tight tannins, and a long finish. Some tightness. The tannins spread across the palate, so integrated and toned yet chewy. A structured and almost steely wine. 82% cabernet franc, 12% merlot and 6% malbec. Better after 2024./p>