2016 Tor Cabernet Sauvignon 'Melanson' Napa Valley
Winemaker Notes: After selling the Calistoga vineyard he’d farmed for a decade, Greg Melanson bought this Pritchard Hill property in 1988. At that time, Chappellet and Long Vineyards were the only other growers on the slopes above Lake Hennessey. Melanson and his family settled on the property, building a house in 1991, and gradually developed the vineyard to eleven planted acres. Cabernet Sauvignon clones 7 and 337 are a wonderment here. So much so, that Melanson recently decided to plant all blocks to these star producers, pulling out the Syrah and Chardonnay he inherited from the property’s previous owner.
The mountain site is rugged, its Sobrante Loam soil studded with volcanic rock. At an average elevation of 1,200 feet, the vineyard sits above the fog line and benefits from maximum sun exposure all day. The presence of Lake Hennessey to the northwest is a moderate cooling influence in the afternoon, when breezes blow over its surface and into the nearby hills.
WINEMAKING: The Melanson Cabernet is from two blocks on this very steep Pritchard Hill vineyard. They were co-fermented and spent an additional week on the skins to better balance the wine and pull out some more sweet tannins. This was matured in 90% Taransaud and 10% Darnajou small French oak barrels. As always, this was bottled both unfined and unfiltered after 19 months in oak.
TASTING NOTES: The Melanson Vineyard Cabernet always stands out for its dense Pritchard Hill fruit profile. This year’s version has that same profile but with a bit more finesse and a very seamless palate impression. This has loads of baking spices and red fruits on the nose. On the palate there is the classic blue and black fruits of Pritchard Hill. A classic Melanson Cabernet in a vintage with outstanding class and refinement.
VINTAGE: To put it simply – this was one of our great modern vintages in the Napa Valley. It almost had a Bordeaux feeling to it – moderate rainfall for all but three months before the real rains arrived in October. By then, everything was in the barn. No significant heat spikes, which made for a very long, even growing season. I have only one complaint with our vineyard sites – I wish I had more grapes to harvest. Cluster size and weights were down, and we were 20% off average when we finished picking. It was one of those years when everything lined-up; you couldn’t help but wish for more grapes. Spectacular quality, both reds and whites. The wines have deep colors, structure, concentration, and depth of flavor.
James Suckling - "Dialed-in fruit and floral aromas with spice and wet earth. Black truffles. Full body and firm, solid tannins that remain sweet and dusty. Extremely long and beautiful. Needs four or five years to soften. A great red. Better after 2023."
Jeb Dunnuck - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Melason Vineyard is another beautiful wine and comes from the site directly across from Colgin. Blackberries, bay leaf, camphor, savory herbs, and graphite notes all flow to a beautiful, medium to full-bodied, concentrated, layered Cabernet Sauvignon that has a singular character, plenty of structure, and a great, great finish."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - "Greg Melanson’s vineyard on Pritchard Hill is very steep, with rows running up and down the hill directly across from Colgin winery. Beyond Colgin its rocky face looks down at Napa Valley’s floor. Very deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard has a vibrant nose of black cherries, blackberries, violets and cedar with hints of lavender, chocolate box, earth, mocha and unsmoked cigars. The palate is full, rich, muscular, concentrated and lively with very firm, very grainy tannins and a long finish with camphor hints."
Vinous - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard is positively stunning. It is also one of the most refined wines I have tasted off this site. Floral aromatics, bright, red-toned fruit and silky tannins elevate the Melanson into the realm of the truly sublime. Every bit as profound as it was from barrel, the 2016 is all class. (AG) 96+"
|Country||USA - California|
|Grape Varietals||Cabernet Sauvignon|