This gem cozies up to perfection like an old flame. Elegant, seamless, and loaded with plush, red fruit on a soft bed of violets. A historically opulent wine, the 2015 is exceptionally poised and vivid. Ample tannins and mid-palate depth unfold with time in the glass, captivating with each, perfectly balance sip through the lingering finish.
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.
Bottled in early 2018, the 2015 Melbury is deep garnet-purple colored with beautiful redcurrant jelly and crème de cassis notes with savory notions of tobacco, black olives and smoked meats plus a waft of lavender. The palate is full-bodied, firm and grainy, with a lively line lifting the perfumed, savory layers, finishing long.
Another gem in the lineup, the 2015 Melbury has a more feminine, elegant, seamless profile that certainly doesn’t lack for fruit. Loaded with notions of cassis, blueberries, flowers, and violets, it’s ethereal and elegant on the palate, with sweet fruit and opulence galore. It picks up ample tannins as well as mid-palate depth with time in the glass, is perfectly balanced, and has another 3-4 decades of longevity.