94pt Nicholson Jones "THE DELIVERY" Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010
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One sip of Nicholson Jones and it’s easy to see why winemaker Julien Fayard has been anointed and the Next Big Thing. With “The Delivery,” Fayard combines St. Helena’s graceful structure with Coombsville bass thunder. When allied, these two appellations integrate surprisingly well, creating a profound style similar to Howell Mountain. Fayard’s becoming a go-to name for opulent and concentrated fruit from great vineyards and with his Lafite-trained technique, tasters get to enjoy a powerful wine embroidered with a Bordeaux-like bouquet of tobacco, graphite and fresh cut flowers. Superb.
About the wine
The last Nicholson Jones Cab disappeared in an instant – and the demand for more is deafening! Here’s another sweet cellar release from Cabernet Impresario Julien Fayard – and it’s another bodacious, black-fruited Cab with Fayard’s inimitable French pizazz. The Delivery includes fruit from three top sites, including the acclaimed Kan vineyard, deployed in many great wines from Alpha Omega. In Fayard’s hands, these wines have a broad, mountain-deep terroir-driven flavor, but with a more approachable structure that gives them Valley-floor silkiness. Fayard’s signature Bordeaux touches give the black currant, black berry and raspberry fruit some real drama in the form of violet pastille, graphite and a dusting of white pepper. That refinement is drawing an ever-growing legion of Cabernet collectors to Fayard’s coat-tails. Like Aaron Pott (Dylan’s Ghost), Thomas Rivers Brown (Schrader) and Celia Welch (Scarewcrow), he’s poised to ascend to the levels currently occupied by Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. He’s got something special.
Winemaker: Julien Fayard
Appellation: Napa Valley (Primarily St. Helena)
- 94 pts: Julie Tesar, Certified Sommelier
- 96 pts: Vintage Rating (Wine Spectator)
- 4.2/5.0: Vivino Users (36 ratings)
Grapes: Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: Kan Vineyard, Rogers Vineyard, Blue Oak Vineyard
Cooperage: 25 months in 100% French Oak.
About the winery
Nicholson Jones is a tight partnership between the Nicholson-Jones family and winemaker Julien Fayard. The key to the winery’s operation is the family’s unwavering trust in Fayard, who was first brought on to save a funky barrel of wine – and did so in incredible fashion. Fully convinced they’d found a brilliant talent, the Nicholson-Jones folks hired Fayard full-time and began to scour Napa for a vineyard site that could provide him the kind of high-quality Cabernet that could let his talent blossom. That search culminated in the purchase of a Coombsville site that now forms the base of a wine that could be right at home in France’s Paulliac region. Tasters repeatedly confirm what Fayard and company believe is a unique terroir – rich, dark fruit, embroidered with smoky, stony accents not found anywhere else in Napa.
About the vineyard
The Delivery takes three-quarters of its fruit from two top St. Helena sites and the balance comes from Coomsbville. Between Rogers Vineyard and Kan Vineyard, the St. Helena portion contributes the appellation’s noble balance, the round texture and fine tannin style that draws comparisons to Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Coombsville yields a darker, wilder kind of Cabernet that is rich, beefy and saturated with color. This outsize Cabernet flavor is why winemakers are flocking to the volcanic soils of Southern Napa. When judiciously blended, the Coombville fruit (from Blue Oak) integrates with St. Helena’s structure in a way that amplifies the fruit without losing the delicacy.
About the winemaker, Julien Fayard
Fayard’s a name that carries a lot of weight in Napa as he is the protégé of superstar Philippe Melka and has stints at none other than Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Lafite Rothschild under his belt. No big deal, just one of the greatest wineries in the world. Fayard’s French-influenced winemaking plays exceptionally well in Coombsville as the area’s natural terroir is easy to express with certain Bordeaux-inspired techniques.
He was born in Saint Etienne, France and grew up in the French Riviera. He has a masters in Agribusiness and Winemaking. Along with his stints at Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Laffite before, Fayard also gained experience at Quintessa before heading to Southern France for 3-years at Chateau Sainte Marguerite, a Cru Classé winery located in the Cote d'Azur. Julien returned to Napa Valley in 2006 where he lives with his wife Élan. Julien remains committed to creating exceptional wines using the finest California grapes, blending the legacy of French tradition with a touch of California style. He makes wine for a dozen small-batch wineries in Napa, including Purlieu (94-96pts RP), Le Pich, Cultivar, Taplin and Covert.
94 points - Julie Tesar, Certified Sommelier
"Bold and direct with its charm, this rich blend boasts heady aromas of baked black plum, candied red currant, sandalwood, sun-baked leather, and tobacco. Voluptuous on the palate with substantial structure and velvety texture. The tannins are fine and well-integrated providing enough structure to pair beautifully with braised beef, roasted lamb, or need I say it, a grilled steak. Though at a delicious point in its maturity now, this wine could age much longer while the tertiary, savory notes further develop."