4611 Thomas Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
This is an ultra-premium Bordeaux blend house in the heart of the Alexander Valley. With its first releases in 1998, it has quickly captured the fancy of wine writer Robert Parker, who has bestowed a number of 95 to 98 point scores to various bottlings.
Vérité is the French word for ‘truth.” It is the winery’s intention of creating the clearest expression of Sonoma County Bordeaux-varietal reds and blends that are possible.
Fruit is sourced from estate holdings in the Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, and Knight’s Valley.
Winemaker and vineyard overseer Pierre Seillan has been with the winery from the start, bringing two decades of experience making wine in Bordeaux.
While Parker has raved about these wines, other wine publications have been slow to embrace the Vérité portfolio. I, for one, find them delightful, bringing together the harmony and balance of Old World winemaking with the ripe fruit of California’s North Coast.
2003 La Muse, Sonoma County
84% Merlot, crafted like a Pomerol. There are layers of flavors here – sweet red cherry, anise, mocha, and toasty oak. It has an elegant entry, finishing with rounded, furry tannins.
My Rating: 92+ points
2003 La Joie, Sonoma County
Pauillac in style (72% Cabernet Sauvignon), this is layered and ageworthy. Tiers of lightly candied cherry and currant preserves mix with roast coffee, dark flowers, and scorched earth. Great length in the finish.
My Rating: 93+ points
2003 Le Desir, Sonoma County
Nearly equal proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec make this a St. Emilion blend. Dark currant and berry fruit, with a tropical fatness in the nose. Layers of passion fruit, cinnamon, menthol, and mocha. It resurrected memories of Delaware Punch from my childhood, an aroma I have also noted in high-end Napa bottlings. The tannins are rounded and sleek.
My Rating: 94 points
1998 La Muse, Sonoma County
This wine is beginning to tire. Heavily toasted oak dominates, with candied red berry and currant fruit, cedar, some mushrooms, chocolate, and essence of barrel room. Drink up.
My Rating: 88 points
1998 La Joie, Sonoma county
Still alive and kicking! Uplifted red berry and currant fruit, coffee, cigar box, and mushroom. Tannins are resolving. This is drinking at its peak right now. Put this next to a 1998 First growth and see which one you like.
My Rating: 94 points
As a personal aside, I opened a 1999 La Joie a few days after our visit to the winery. It was stunning. My Rating: 96 points