The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard captures all of the riveting beauty of the vintage in this hillside site just opposite Colgin. A backbone of tannin and bright acids give the 2018 fabulous vibrancy and a real sense of energy. Crushed red berries, mocha, leather, licorice and crushed rocks all race out of the glass. The 2018 is wonderfully vivid and pure.
97pts James Suckling
The dark fruit and conifer are impressive and include blackcurrant and black cherry. Wet earth and black mushroom, too. It’s full-bodied with chewy tannins and intense fruit. Yet, the tannins are chewy and powerful. Very mountain-fruit character. Needs four or five years to soften. Try after 2024.
95pts Jeb Dunnuck
From a rock site on Pritchard Hill, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard has a killer bouquet of crushed stone, new leather, flowery incense, blackberries, and blackcurrants. Already complex and nuanced aromatically, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, expansive texture, plenty of ripe tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy over the following two decades. Rating: 95+
95pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Greg Melanson’s vineyard on Pritchard Hill is very steep, with rows running up and down the hill directly across from Colgin Winery. Beyond Colgin, its rocky face looks down at Napa Valley’s floor. The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard is a little broody to begin, needing a good amount of swirling to reveal notes of chocolate-covered cherries, crème de cassis, molten licorice and preserved plums with hints of espresso, sautéed herbs and crushed rocks. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with taut, muscular black fruit and supported by a firm foundation of grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing on a lingering ferrous note. 360 cases were produced.
As has been the case every year since 2013 when we started in this amazing site on Pritchard Hill, there is no mistaking Melanson in the line up of Tor Cabernets. There is always a more red fruited/brite side to Melanson as opposed to our West side Oakville Cabernets that are mostly black fruits. The dark fruit profile of 2018 makes this one of the darker Melanson we have ever made yet it still retains the intense mountain driven character that have made this a marquee site on Pritchard Hill.
2018 was a very long and overall cool vintage which aided its longevity and hang time. The grape set was under ideal conditions in the Spring, and the clusters on average were larger than normal, full, and picture perfect. Hollywood clusters, show offs; a beautiful and large set. We thinned (dropped fruit) more radically than we did in 2017 and 2016, one cluster per shoot in To Kalon. Still, by harvest it was on average a good 10 to 15% more than we had initially anticipated. Long, long hang time, picture perfect clusters, no real heat spikes, and an even and long picking season.