Pulido-Walker Melanson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2018 (99 Points!!!)

Pulido-Walker Melanson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2018 (99 Points!!!)

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About The Producer
"The patient journey to “Pursue the Possible” at Pulido~Walker has been guided by a tenacious commitment to excellence, a striving for perfection of every element in single-vineyard designate wines. The ancient apothecary weight on the Pulido~Walker wine label is inscribed with the seasonal symbols of alchemy. This Old World instrument of precise measure expresses our family’s ardent determination to craft extraordinary wines authentic to the unique terroir of our three exceptional Napa Valley estate vineyards.

Under the watchful eye of our winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, we chose three remarkable vineyard sites where the natural alchemy of geography, soil, climate, and clone yield a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Wines that bear our label exemplify what is possible when one pursues the very best at every step. This is our compass, driving every decision we make."

About The Wine
Between boulders clinging stubbornly to the steep slopes of Pritchard Hill, the Estate Grown Melanson Vineyard sits east of Oakville among some of the most highly regarded and closely held vineyard properties in the Napa Valley. Vines grow at elevations from 1,100 to 1,380 ft. above sea level, in fractured serpentine and clay soils laden with igneous and seabed rock.

Melanson’s southwestern exposure is a distinct advantage, especially at elevations that translate to later bud break and harvest. Solar radiation is magnified at this altitude, while variations between high and low temperatures are moderated. The result is mountain fruit with thicker skins and higher tannins. The ink-black, super-concentrated berries are powerfully expressive of the site, with pronounced granite minerality. The higher tannins give the wine more structure with less weight on the palate and excellent aging potential.

Production: 398 Cases
Aging: 20 months in 100% French oak (85% new barrels)

Grape / Blend
100% Cabernet Sauvignon; clones 7 and 337

Origin
St. Helena, Napa Valley, California

Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Thanks to an excellent set, early fruit stability, and true ripeness, the 2018 Pulido~Walker Melanson Vineyard Cabernet is an exemplary wine. It is intensely colored, with framing acidity and tons of structure. This vineyard does best with a long hang time—the longer we get to ripen the tannin, the better the result. 2018 is a prime example of what we’re aiming for with well-integrated tannins, including a somewhat expansive mid palate and no clipping of the finish. All the flavor hallmarks of the vineyard are on display here, from deeply saturated black fruits to crushed rock to even more of the high-toned white flower component we’ve come to expect in Napa Valley wines from top-tier mountain sites. We’re pleased to follow the tiny 2017 vintage with a more generous offering of what is bound to be a benchmark vintage of this wine. Enjoy it any time over the next three decades.

99 Points - Vinous
"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard emerges mostly from upper blocks on this site, a striking hillside that faces Colgin, where the steep exposure can yield wines of tremendous pedigree. That is exactly what comes through here. Inky red/purplish fruit, spice, rose petal, cedar and sweet pipe tobacco meld together effortlessly, with silky tannins that wrap it all up. Bold and luscious, but with tremendous nuance, the Melanson Cabernet is a total stunner in 2018. As I have written in the past, farming here has improved tremendously in recent years. This is another superb example of the quality that this site is capable of. Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown gave the 2018 a relatively short 10 days on the skins. I imagine he thought the site would take care of the rest. It's hard to argue with that. The 2018 is off the charts great. Don't miss it."

Praise for Past Vintages

97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck 2017 Vintage

"Even better, I suspect the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon might be a candidate for the wine of the vintage with 4-5 years of bottle age. From a vineyard on Pritchard Hill, just across from Colgin, and 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this inky colored beauty offers loads of blueberry and blackcurrant liqueur-like fruits as well as lots of spice, flowery incense, and subtle herbal undertones. Textbook Cabernet on the nose, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, building tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great, great finish. It’s one of the few wines in the vintage that comes close to rivaling its 2015 and 2016 counterparts. The cellar will be your friend on this one, though, and a good 4-6 years of bottle age are warranted. Drink: 2024-2044."

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