94 Insider Points
91+ Points - Robert Parker
90 Points- Wine Enthusiast
90 Points- Cellar Tracker Average
"Juicy, spicy and red-fruit dominated, this wine is broad-shouldered and moderately balanced, with a powerful hit of tannin on the finish. Sweet tobacco and vanilla flavors crescendo on the finish."
A Cab That Does the Laird Family Proud.
I was first introduced to Laird while managing a wine bar in San Clemente, CA. It was a tasting experience that stands among my most memorable. Their 2013 Cab did not leave me disappointed.
Jammy blackberry nose. Full-bodied with balanced acidity and drying tannins. Dried black currant, nutmeg, oak and an earthy undertone with a hint of anise, not unlike a cab-based Bordeaux. It finishes strong with mellow cassis. I'll come back to this wine anytime.
94 Points - JZ November '17
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, California
French oak barrels for 22 months (60% of it new)
An invino exclusive by way of winemaking superstar Paul Hobbs and the Laird family—grape farmers in the Napa Valley for nearly 50 years. For decades, the Lairds sold their fruit to many of the top names in the business. In ’99 they released their first estate wine—a Napa Cab very much like this bottle and sourced from the same estate vineyards as this 2013. And for 14 vintages straight, they’ve nailed it.
“Juicy, spicy and red-fruit dominated, this wine is broad-shouldered and moderately balanced, with a powerful hit of tannin on the finish,” writes the Wine Enthusiast, giving this one 90 points and concluding: “Sweet tobacco and vanilla flavors crescendo on the finish.”
This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and it owes and the measure of its beauty and power to two of Laird’s prime single vineyards, Flat Rock Ranch (48%) and Mast Ranch (52%), both located in the highly coveted Yountville Appellation and both sources of outstanding Cab fruit. As befits a top-class red, Laird aged this wine in French oak barrels for 22 months (60% of it new). Still, on the young side, the wine shows off Yountville’s elegance with pristine plum and wild berry fruit, seasoned by a touch of dark chocolate and warm cedar spice. Hold onto this puppy for up to 10 years or drink in the near terms with steak, lamb or cheeses.
Four reasons we love it:
- The Wine Enthusiast scored the 2013 vintage 95 points or “Superb.” “Cabernet shined brightest,” in the 2013 vintage, writes the Wine Spectator, describing a year that was quite successful in the Napa Valley regardless of varietal.
- Laird’s estate vineyards are the source of many of Napa’s biggest names in Cabernet. Only about 2% of Laird’s fruit is deemed stellar enough to make it into their own Napa Valley Cab.
- Novice vineyard owner Ken Laird picked Robert Mondavi out of a phone book 40 years ago when looking for a knowledgeable consultant (Mondavi’s name was the only one he recognized!).
- Paul Hobbs is one of a two-member team at Laird Family Estate. Equally renown winemaker Julian Gonzalez, previously of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Dominus, Ch. Potelle and Mi Sueno, handles the day-to-day winemaking duties here.
With its deep purple-tinged ruby color and long lasting legs, the Napa Cabernet has a bouquet of wild berries, cocoa, cassis and toasted oak. The palate develops flavors of ripe plum, boysenberry, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco and baking spice. The long lingering finish has youthful tannins that keep you coming back for more.
From the winery:
Our story begins nearly 64 years ago outside of South Boston Virginia as 12-year-old Ken Laird drove his mule wagon through tight rows of sticky, fit-to-be-harvested tobacco leaves. As the gooey bundles were thrown up onto the wagon, little Ken led his mule team to the curing barn. It was there, with his grandmother, great uncles, and cousins, they would stoke smoky curing fires for their prized tobacco. Ken would be the third-generation Laird to carry on the farming tradition.
While growing up to be a big-city mechanical engineer in New York City, Ken held on to family tradition by buying his first Napa Valley parcel in 1970. This neglected piece of land, adjacent to Tubbs Lane in Calistoga, held 70 acres of worn-down prune trees. With Prohibition 40 years gone and Napa Valley positioned to re-emerge as viticulturally significant, Ken decided to develop the orchard into a grape vineyard. While knowing just short of nothing about viticulture, Ken was also $150,000.00 short to properly develop the orchard into a respectable vineyard.
Picking up a tattered phone book, Ken went to the yellow pages and found eight listed wineries, Robert Mondavi being the only one he recognized. With a phone call, Robert Mondavi himself agreed to walk the property. After the two men discussed soils, vines, yields, irrigation, and proper pruning, Robert agreed to finance a deal with Ken if he would plant 50% Gamay. The deal was struck with a resulting vineyard of 50% Gamay and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, Mr. Mondavi guaranteeing Ken’s Cabernet “to be the highest harvest price paid in the Valley.” The support and encouragement of Robert Mondavi would allow Ken to return to his passion: his family farming heritage.
This wine would pair perfectly with a Cambozola cheese or a hardwood grilled steak.