2014 Melka CJ Cabernet Sauvignon
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
Phillipe Melka may not be a household name just yet, but the legions of high end Napa wineries he’s worked with puts him on a level matched by a select few. With a resume that includes Hundred Acre, Bryant, Quintessa and Vineyard 29, Napa watchers were understandably eager to see how the Melka’s 25 years as a top consultant would translate into his own label, and the results have been pretty spectacular, with the ‘CJ’ Napa Cabernet on par with his previous work at a price that’s a lot easier to swallow.
Careful to avoid the overripe style some modern producers pursue, The Melka ‘CJ’ Cabernet is a gorgeously well structured, intense Napa Valley Cabernet with “high but soft, silky tannins” (Parker) that give away the incredible amount of skill behind the wine. Sourced from three distinct sites in Calistoga, Soda Canyon, and Coombsville, Galloni wrote Melka’s wines are “are just as compelling” as those from the top name’s he’s worked with, and in a vintage like 2014, you can’t go wrong.
Phillipe Melka may be known best in Napa, but his early career featured stints at Chateau Haut-Brion and Petrus. For the last 25 years, the Melka’s have made Napa their home, becoming “one of the most respected consultants in Napa Valley” (Parker) in the process. The 2014 ‘CJ’ Cabernet is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot and while it certainly has the depth and structure to age, no one would judge you for opening it today!