OUR #3 Wine of 2016
2013 Verite ‘La Muse’
Red Blend | Sonoma County | Wine Spectrum 98
Robert Parker 100 Points: The 2013 La Muse, like all of the 2013s, comes about one-third from Alexander Valley vineyards, 40-plus percent from Chalk Hill, and the rest Knights Valley and Bennett Valley – all high-elevation hillside vineyards. A blend of 89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec at 14.3% alcohol, the wine is amazingly like a great vintage of Petrus, with mulberry, black cherry, licorice, truffle and unctuous, thick, juicy fruit all present in this full-bodied masterpiece. The tannins are still present. The wine has purity and savory presence and is remarkable. The finish goes on for well past a minute. This wine would probably benefit from 5-8 years of bottle age and last 40-50 years.
“I suppose the arguments against giving perfect scores far outnumber those for giving them, but after 37 years of tasting just about everything of quality that’s been produced, I believe I’m in a position to recognize truly world-class efforts that are as complete and compelling as good wine can be. And if that’s the case, then why hold back? I realize that it creates possibly unreal expectations among readers, and there is the argument that nothing really is perfect. But if a wine is as good as you think it can be made, then I have no reservations about offering accolades to those rare wines. When one considers the winemaking effort that goes into producing these cuvées of Vérité, from Bordelais Pierre Seillan, the fastidious attention to detail and the use of only the crème de la crème of fruit from some of the finest vineyards in the Jackson family empire, the results are not that surprising. The 2013s are the pinnacle of what Vérité has produced, and probably all wines that will be better at age 25 or 35 than they are showing today, but they are simply the essence of a vineyard site, a vine and a philosophy of no compromise. All of these wines, basically, are aged in 100% new French oak, given 3-4 day cold pre-fermentation, cold macerations, treated like spoiled children during élevage, and bottled with no fining or filtration. The entire philosophy is that La Muse is the Right Bank Pomerol look-alike from Vérité, La Joie the Medoc-like clone, and Le Desir a St.-Emilion in the style of Ausone.
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.” ~ Robert Parker Jr.
This is the flagship, luxury, world-class winery of the late Jess Jackson’s portfolio of small, high quality estates. Jackson convinced Bordelais Pierre Seillan to come to California from St.-Emilion to make these wines, and Verite has been one of the classics for well over a decade. The La Muse cuvee represents a Pomerol-styled wine, La Joie a Medoc and Le Desir a St.-Emilion. These are long-term, concentrated, tannic efforts that usually require 5-10 years of bottle age, and are meant to age for at least three decades.
Pierre first began working with Cabernet Franc and Merlot more than four decades ago at his family’s estate in Armagnac, later moving on to Château de Targé in the Saumur-Champigny AOC of the Loire Valley. And while Pierre enjoyed the Loire, Bordeaux beckoned, and he then spent two decades as Technical Director and Winemaker for seven Bordeaux châteaux in Lalande de Pomerol, St. Emilion, St. Estèphe, Haut-Médoc, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur. At Vérité, they are dedicated to crafting Bordeaux-inspired blends that stand among the world’s finest — and that express our Sonoma County terroir with beautiful transparency. ‘La Joie’ (Joy) is a Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, with world-class depth and power, reminiscent of Pauillac. ‘La Muse’ (Inspiration) is a supple, balanced Merlot—inspired by Pomerol and sourced from premier Sonoma County micro-crus. And ‘Le Desir’ (Desire) is a plush, exotic Cabernet Franc that honors the spirit of Saint-Émilion with superior Sonoma County expression. Boasting multiple perfect scores from Parker since the first vintage in 1998, these wines have time and again been considered some of the finest that California has to offer!
Buy Verite ‘La Muse’ NOW
Top Wines of 2016 Release Schedule