A hillside made up of cobble, rocks, and volcanic ash in the eastern hills above St. Helena has given a moving wine in 2014. Suckling loved this wine’s “Blackberry, blueberry and forest-floor undertones. Great perfumes. Full body, polished and velvety tannins, and yet this is refined and focused. Wonderful texture and length. Savory and citrusy. Fantastic.”
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 Quella is scented of blackberry preserves, fruitcake and crushed rocks with hints of cigar box, dried Provence herbs and Indian spices. Medium to full-bodied, it has a firm backbone of grainy tannins and great freshness lifting the black fruit and earth layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note.
Blackberry, blueberry and forest-floor undertones. Great perfumes. Full body, polished and velvety tannins, and yet this is refined and focused. Wonderful texture and length. Savory and citrusy. Fantastic. Better in 2019. Barrel sample.
The 2014 Quella is one of the most aromatic and complex in the lineup. Coming from more seabed and volcanic soils (similar to the Melbury) and sporting a deep purple color and lifted notes of spice cake, black cherries, blueberries, violets and iron-like minerality, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, elegant, has bright acidity, and a great finish. Drink it anytime over the coming 20+ years.