Pulido Walker Melanson Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
|Region||California, Napa Valley, St Helena|
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.
Mark Pulido and Donna Walker set out to create their eponymous winery with the mindset of “Pursue the Possible” high atop Mout Veeder in the mid-aughts as their growing passion for wine and all things Napa valley finally bubbled over. Early on they were able to bring on legendary winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, who was able to take the property into the realm of greatness.
The Pulido-Walker Melanson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon comes from high up in Pritchard Hill and is rich and inky with ripe black and red fruit tones and crushed rock minerality. The eighty-five percent new French oak that the wine rests in for twenty months rounds out the powerful tannins and gives a supple mouthfeel and a broad spectrum of spice to complement the fruit and minerality.
Enjoy with braised short ribs or slow-smoked barbecued beef and flavorful aged cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or gouda.
Pure Napa Valley genius, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard comes from a vineyard on Pritchard Hill, just across from Colgin, and is all Cabernet brought up in around 80% new French oak. Stunningly pure notes of blackcurrants, blueberries, iron, crushed rock, and an almost meaty, bloody quality emerge from the glass, and this beauty is full-bodied, with a multi-dimensional, layered mouthfeel, loads of tannins, and a great, great finish. This flawless, heavenly Cabernet is going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and cruise for 20-30 years in cold cellars.
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 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. 2018 is off the charts great. Don't miss it.