98 Points Jeb Dunnuck - Coming from a new single vineyard Mount Veeder, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder comes from a block selection made by winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and, I believe, is 100% Cabernet. Lots of forest floor, bay leaf, violets, and assorted blue-tinged fruits define the bouquet, and this is another full-bodied, tight, backward, yet incredibly impressive wine. It will probably merit a triple digit rating in a decade and should see its 30th birthday in fine form.
98 Points Wine Advocate - The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Estate is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes barreling out of the glass with bold notes of blackcurrant pastilles, blueberry pie, warm plums and crushed rocks with hints of fragrant earth, black truffles and olives. Full-bodied, rich and packed with juicy black fruit, it has a firm, grainy texture and lively backbone, with a long-lingering minty kick on the finish. 400 cases were made.
The Pulido-Walker Mt. Veeder Estate Vineyard is meticulously planted, drawing on several years of data collection prior to putting a single vine or rootstock in the ground. It has been quite the voyage of discovery shepherding this wine from the initial planting of clones 15, 30, 169, and 685 to the release of this inaugural vintage. We decided to harvest by clone and ferment the four wine lots individually. It was unanimous: the lots from clones 15 and 685 were standouts.
Mark Pulido and Donna Walker are immensely gratified that right out of the gate, this Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is every inch the thoroughbred, easily rivaling the wine from its sister vineyard on Pritchard Hill and a welcomed companion.
Winemaking & Tasting Notes - Much like a European vineyard, this one is a patchwork of micro blocks, some as small as half an acre. The peaks and swales in a mountain vineyard that can make for uneven ripening remain unplanted here, allowing for truly consistent exposure. The result is a Cabernet Sauvignon unlike any other we’ve tasted from Mt. Veeder—nothing else is quite this complete.
Appellation: Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Clones: 15, 30, 169, and 685
Aging: 20 months in 100% French oak (80% new barrels)
Barrel Coopers: Baron, La Grange, Darnajou, and Taransaud
Alcohol: 14.8% by vol.
Titratable Acidity: 6.4 g/L
Bottling Date: June 2020
We harvest from five different blocks in this vineyard. In past years, there have been standout lots of wine associated with individual blocks and clones, but 2016 has changed all that. The combination of vine maturity and new farming efforts brought all five into the limelight in 2016. While the final clonal blend remains the same this vintage, clones 4 and 337 will play their own starring roles in coming vintages.
Winemaking & Tasting Notes
The 2016 Panek Vineyard Cabernet shows a good mix of acidity and tannins, a welcome counterpoint to the generous fruit profile we’ve come to expect from this valley floor locale. While the previous vintage is highly structured, with more prominent tannins than we usually get from this site, the 2016 is a beautiful balance of structure and luscious fruit.
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.