Pulido-Walker 2015 Melanson Vineyard Napa Valley Canernet Sauvignon


99 points Jeb Dunnuck: "From a site on Pritchard Hill, just across from Colgin, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard is an incredible wine that flirts with perfection. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged 20 months in 80% new French oak, this beauty offers a saturated purple color as well as heavenly notes of purple fruits, white flowers, coffee beans, and building, undeniable minerality. Full-bodied, perfectly balanced and layered, with an incredible mix of elegance and richness, it’s a tour de force from winemaker Thomas Brown that will keep for 2-3 decades. Drink: 2018-2048. (12/29/17)"
97+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): "Produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 20 months in French oak, 90% new, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard Pritchard Hill has a deep purple-black color and a rock star nose of black currant cordial, dark chocolate, black forest cake and licorice with touches of charcoal, Chinese five spice, potpourri and black soil. Full-boded, concentrated and completely seducing in the mouth, the palate offers bold, beautiful black fruit and exotic spice layers, framed by velvety tannins, finishing very long and perfumed. 210 cases were made. Drink: 2018-2040. (Dec 2017)"

96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard bristles with energy. Crushed rocks, graphite, lavender, sage, mint and violet infuse this powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2015 is remarkably polished and nuanced for such a big wine. Intense and full-bodied, with plenty of hillside savoriness, the 2015 is a winner. Drink: 2020-2030. (Mar 2018)"
After three consecutive Napa Valley vintages described variously as “classic,” “textbook,” and “near perfect,” 2015 was a much more eventful growing season across the valley. The upshot: high quality fruit at much lower yields. Unseasonably warm weather early in the year accelerated bud break and bloom, then a cold snap in late spring resulted in an uneven fruit set. Cold spells can have a heightened impact on higher elevation vineyards in particular, as was the case with the Melanson Vineyard in 2015.

Although yield declined by about a third, the shatter we saw during spring bloom paved the way for a big bump in quality and flavor concentration as the remaining fruit matured. “A naturally small crop has a huge effect on quality,” winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown explains. “We can’t duplicate that by dropping fruit.” Berries in the Melanson Vineyard hung longer and in looser clusters for the remainder of the 2015 season, ultimately making the Pulido~Walker Cabernet Sauvignon from this site a better wine.

Winemaking & Tasting Notes
The concentration of this vintage means the wine comes across as more fruit driven than in past years, although the savory notes and dried-herb quality we associate particularly with Clone 7 are still readily apparent. The wine is a pure expression of black fruits, minus the tsunami of tannin one might expect from a vintage this inky dark. The finish is seemingly endless.

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