In comparison, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon JCB #10 is a bigger, richer, more unctuous effort that reveals a dense purple color as well as a smorgasbord-like array of ripe blue fruits, chocolaty oak, violets, and ripe herbs. It's full-bodied and concentrated, yet still holds onto a terrific sense of finesse and elegance, and the tannins are beautiful. Both wines are brilliant.
JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset Reviews
I was able to taste two barrel samples from the JCB lineup. The 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon JCB #1 is the slightly more elegant and seamless of the two, offering a pure, perfumed nose of ripe currants, toasted spice, graphite, and tobacco leaf. With perfectly integrated oak, full-bodied richness, and just about perfect tannins, this is legit awesome juice. The #1 Cuvee comes from two vineyards in St. Helena and is Clone 4 and Clone 7.
Jean-Charles Boisset uses his JCB label as an emotional outlet, working with his team to present lots that trigger a response—like 22, which he selects for “intensity and charm.” In fact, No. 22 pushes more buttons than most. We’ve tasted seven vintages of the wine, and five have earned exceptional ratings. This is one of the best: tight and complex, with notes of tarragon and smoke at the edges and clean fruit at its core. It’s a gentle, elegant, savory pinot, expanding from herbal and crunchy hints of rose-hip greenness to fragrant, fresh cherry flavors that last.
This sports a toasty edge, but there's a good gush of warmed cassis and steeped plum behind that, while the finish offers a lush, flattering feel as it picks up licorice and fruitcake hints. Drink now through 2032. 1,580 cases made.
This throws a gush of warmed cassis and creamed plum notes out front, with polished structure and toast along the edges that then blossoms through the finish. A late tug of loamy earth keeps this just honest enough. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Best from 2023 through 2030. 177 cases made.
The 2015 Leopard is composed of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, and 11% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet colored, it needs a little swirling to reveal notes of charcuterie, tapenade, and black pepper with a core of blackcurrant cordial, prunes, blueberry compote, and menthol, plus a hint of tobacco leaf. The full-bodied palate is rich, firm, and grainy with a lively backbone, finishing long and energetic.
The 2015 Cabernet Franc No 17 is a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet colored, it pops with a fantastically perfumed nose of kirsch, rose oil, black raspberries, and wild blueberries, followed by hints of fallen leaves and lavender. The medium to full-bodied palate is soft, graceful, and elegant, featuring beautiful freshness and very fine-grained tannins, leading to a long and perfumed finish on this gorgeous wine.
Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2019 Pinot Noir No 7 wows with a fantastic perfume of violets, pomegranate, raspberry coulis, and kirsch plus hints of crushed rocks, underbrush, and spearmint. Medium to full-bodied, it is very pure in the mouth with delicate red berry and earthy layers framed by seamless freshness and a soft, fine-grained texture, finishing long and mineral-laced.
The 2019 Pinot Noir No 11 delivers an emerging perfume that has wonderful restraint, offering up crushed rocks, iron ore, and fertile loam over a core of redcurrants, Bing cherries, and lavender plus a waft of Provence herbs. The medium-bodied palate is delicate and refreshing with a light chewiness to the tannins and loads of savory sparks, finishing with an herbal lift.
A blend of 63% Petite Sirah and 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2019 Knockout is very deep purple-black in color. It needs some swirling to bring out notes of boysenberry preserves, chocolate-covered cherries, and blueberry pie with hints of dark chocolate, licorice, and tar. The full-bodied palate is firm and super-rich, with nice ripe tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long, long, long.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Zebra/Snake/Crocodile, made from 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Petite Sirah, is a Napa Valley red wine that is dressed 3 ways, available in a zebra, snake, or crocodile skin label. Deep garnet purple in color, it charges out of the glass with a vibrant melange of warm cassis, baked plums, and mulberries with touches of cedar chest, pencil shavings, and cloves. The full-bodied palate is rich and has a lively backbone to balance, firm and grainy, long and lifted.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Phi is a blend of Cuvees No 1 and No 10 aged in the Phi, a barrel constructed in the perfect golden ratio proportions. Opaque purple-black in color, it erupts from the glass with molten licorice, Indian spices, and chocolate mint over a core of creme de cassis and blackberry preserves with a touch of cast-iron pan. The full-bodied palate is rich, firm, and incredibly harmonious, with fantastic tension and freshness, and so many layers, finishing long, long, long. Only 3 barrels of this very decadent wine were made.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Enrapture has 6% Cabernet Franc in the blend. Deep purple-black in color, it charges out with powerful scents of creme de cassis, blackberry pie, and plum preserves, plus suggestions of clove oil, licorice, and camphor. Full-bodied, concentrated, rich, and explosive in the mouth, it has a firm yet velvety texture with just enough freshness and a long, opulent finish.
Bottled in mid-June, the 2020 Pinot Noir No 6 is medium ruby-purple in color. It opens with delicate, earthy/savory notes of wild sage, truffles, tree bark, and tilled soil, with a core of Bing cherries and redcurrants. The medium to full-bodied palate is firm and fine-grained, with fantastic tension leading to a long and minerally finish on this impressive wine.
The 2020 Chardonnay No 81 comes barreling out of the glass with bold notes of apricots, green guava, passion fruit, and toasted almonds with hints of cedar, fresh ginger, and honeysuckle. Medium to full-bodied, it is rich, intense, and decadent in the mouth, with a creamy texture and long, savory finish. JC first came to the USA in 1981 and decided then that he would come back to make wine.
The 2020 Chardonnay No 33 bursts with ripe juicy pears, allspice, honey-drizzled peaches, and grapefruit oil notes, plus a suggestion of honeycomb. The medium to full-bodied palate shimmers with energy and tension, supported by a satiny texture and delivering vibrant citrus and stone fruit layers, finishing long and spicy.
Aromas of coffee, black cherry, red cherry and grilled meat. Full-bodied with velvety tannins. Powerful and rich. Decadent, with a dry finish. Only 900 bottles made. Drink now.
A gorgeous nose of violets, roses, fresh strawberries, crushed herbs and bark. Medium- to full-bodied with soft tannins. Gentle, but concentrated, with lots of depth and complexity. A fascinating blend of 2019 pinot noir from Burgundy (48%) and Sonoma Coast (52%). Drink or hold.
Zesty; fresh pear; well balanced; mouth watering; blanched almond.
The 2018 Merlot No. 4 is made from 100% Merlot, from the east side of St. Helena on volcanic/obsidian-rich soils. It was aged in French oak, 21% new. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it comes bounding out of the glass with lively notes of crushed black plums, juicy blueberries and fresh blackberries with suggestions of candied violets, baking spices, cardamom and fruitcake. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers soft, rounded tannins and oodles of freshness, beautifully framing the ripe, fresh black and blue fruits, finishing long and spicy. Only 49 cases were made.
This is made from 80% Pinot Noir, the remainder Chardonnay, both coming from both the Napa and Sonoma sides of the appellation. Inviting in wild strawberry, it is dry and stony and exuberant in earthy mineral aspects of crushed rock and dried herb.