Pulido Walker Melanson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
The 2014 Pulido~Walker from Melanson Vineyard signals a return to a more familiar profile: plenty of structure in a wine that has shown almost perfect balance from the start contrasted to the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignons from Pritchard Hill which were especially intense. Rather than working to tame the tannins, 2014 has been about allowing them to frame the finish. Each element is present in near-ideal proportions thanks once again to our base lot of Clone 7 blended with Clone 337 to punch up the fruit.
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The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard comes from a higher elevation site on Pritchard Hill. This is slightly lower in alcohol at 14.3% and sees 88% new French oak. This is a beauty. Black raspberry, blueberry, white flowers, forest floor, graphite and camphor are all present in the aromatics and flavors of this full-bodied wine that has magnificent fruit purity and an expansive, large-scale mouthfeel, but no heaviness or cloying characteristics. This is a beauty to drink over the next 25 years.
St. Helena is in the heart of the Napa Valley, nestled between Calistoga to the north and Rutherford on its southern border. On its western side, the Mayacamas Mountains guard it from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean; to its east stand the Vaca Mountains. In conjunction, these mountain ranges serve to lock in summer daytime heat. But in the evening, cool air from the San Pablo Bay funnels up through the valley, creating very chilly nights. It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to drop 50 degrees, a shift that promotes a balance of sugar ripeness and acidity in wine grapes.
St. Helena contains a plethora of different soil types in a small area, which have been enhanced over centuries by rain runoff from both mountain ranges. Its vineyards cover a variety of terrain, spreading across the bucolic valley floor and its benchlands.
These ideal topographic and climatic growing conditions easily caught the attention of early winemaking pioneers. In fact, St. Helena is the birthplace of Napa Valley’s commercial wine industry. Dr. Crane founded his cellar in 1859, David Fulton in 1860 and Charles Krug in 1861.
Today there are no less than 400 separate vineyards planted within the 12,000 acres that make up the St. Helena appellation.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.