Melbury is a blessed hillside just north of Lake Hennessey in the hills east of Rutherford, and the wine it produced in 2014 is glorious. Galloni calls it “simply gorgeous. Dark, aromatic and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2014 exudes freshness and finesse from the very first taste.”
Bill Harlan’s standards have become legendary in Napa Valley. The vintner and businessman responsible for Harlan Estate, Meadowood Resort and the ambitious winemaking-with-the-stars club that is the Napa Valley Reserve doesn’t cut corners anywhere. Back in 1993 (first releases in ’97), utilizing the same group responsible for Harlan, Bill signed vineyard contracts on four superlative hillside properties to be farmed to the team’s specifications. While four single-vineyard Cabernets are bottled separately, blending decisions dictate that not every barrel from each property will be used… which is where Matriarch comes into play. It allows the immensely talented winemaker Bob Levy to use his blending expertise to highlight the best qualities of the vintage, rather than a specific vineyard expression. The fruit sources stretch from the eastern extremes of Rutherford’s border, west and south to the Mayacamas foothills of Oakville and due north to Spring Mountain. The common themes are hillside plantings, low yields and meticulous farming. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this group of dedicated perfectionists who continue to outdo themselves.
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Melbury is profoundly scented of crushed plums, black cherries and cassis with hints of dark chocolate, black pepper, black soil and licorice plus a hint of iron ore. Full-bodied, rich and earthy in the mouth, it has a lovely fine-grained but firm backbone with plenty of freshness, finishing long and peppery.
Extremely aromatic with orange peel, blackberries and light tar preceding a medium to full body, ultra-fine tannins and a long, flavorful, caressing finish. Polished beauty. Drink in 2019. Barrel sample.
The 2014 Melbury comes from a site just north of Lake Hennessey that consists of unique, oceanic and clay soils. It’s a pretty, perfumed, seamless beauty offering loads of black cherry and cassis fruit, hints of chocolate and earth, medium to full-bodied richness, no hard edges, and beautiful tannin. Drink it over the coming 15-20 years.