Melbury has been pushing for perfection with each vintage, and the 2016 takes the cake. Supple and elegant in texture, loaded with plush red fruits and delectable spice, Jeb Dunnuck calls it “pure perfection in a glass.” If it’s that good now, imagine cracking into it after another decade of cellar time. Whenever you decide to indulge, this bottle is a sure thing.
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.
Leading off the 2018s from barrel, the 2018 Melbury is spectacular juice, offering an already complex nose of cassis and black raspberry fruits intermixed with notes of dried flowers, graphite, chalky mineral, and spice. All about elegance and purity, it’s full-bodied, flawlessly balanced, and a great wine in the making.