DeLille founding winemaker Chris Upchurch toasted the 10th vintage of his eponymous vineyard in 2021, and while Cabernet Sauvignon is king on Red Mountain, his skill with Merlot off the 18-acre site that Dick Boushey manages for him should not go overlooked. While the CounterPart project off the Upchurch estate tends to leans Right Bank, he could have labeled the 2019 as a varietal wine with this blend of Merlot (75%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (25%). As usual, he invested in 100% new French oak, a blend of Taransaud and Orion barrels, and there’s an early sense of the expense that’s wrapped up in the nose of dark purple fruit and luxurious toast, but there’s also room for a whiff of sage and rub of orange peel. Remarkable richness comes across the creamy Bing cherry and plummy entry to the palate, which gathers up black currant amid the bold and age-worthy tannins. Cherry pie filling and pomegranate juice combine for a mouth-filling yet balanced finish.
Rating: Outstanding! 94 points
Production: 355 cases