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I obviously have a thing for great California wines. One of the fantastic boutique producers out of Napa, Melka Estates relies on the talents of Philippe and Cherie Melka. Melka Estates is a limited production winery that sources from some amazing sites including La Mekerra in Sonoma and Jumping Goat in Napa Valley. They also make a world-class Syrah from Paso Robles. A man needing no introduction, Philippe Melka is a Bordeaux native that has a master’s degree in enology. He has a long resume, with previous stops at Château Haut Brion, as well as Dominus Estate and various stints in Australia and even Chateau Petrus. He has been in Napa on a full time basis since 1994 and has served as consulting winemaker at some of the great wineries in Napa, Sonoma and Washington State. There is little doubt that he is truly one of the great consulting winemakers in the world. Philippe partners with his wife, Cherie, to craft the wines. She also has a highly impressive resume with previous stops Ridge Vineyards prior to starting Melka Estates. She handles all business decisions for Melka as well as helps with the blending. Having tasted with Cherie on several occasions, she has an incredible knowledge of Napa and the surrounding areas to craft wines with terroir and serious texture.
The Melkas hold their wines back considerably more than most Napa houses. The wines I tasted were from the 2018 and 2019 vintages. One of the great new world Sauvignon Blanc wines that I have tasted in the past year, the 2018 Melka Estates ‘La Mekerra Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc (OB, 96) is a red wine lover’s rendition of this varietal. Big, bold and seamless with serious texture and flavor complexity, this is a total stunner that is a must-purchase for any lover of Sav Blanc. Even better is the incredible 2018 Melka Estates ‘Metisse’ Cabernet Sauvignon (OB, 97) which comes from the Martinez Vineyard in the Napa Valley. Bold and brooding, with serious refinement and concentration, this beauty is absolutely a joy to consume right now in its heady youth. I think you will really be impressed with these new wines. Learn more at https://www.melkaestates.com Here are my reviews of the new Melka Estates wines.
2018 Melka Estates ‘La Mekerra Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc- This beautiful wine is a barrel selection wine using several clonal selections of Sauvignon Blanc that saw some battonage. This bottling is wonderfully textured with serious weight and tension. Gooseberry and bright green apple combine with suggestions of baking spice dusted brioche notes combine on the palate. Stored in roughly 60% new French oak (cigar barrels), this finishes very long. Enjoy this beautiful wine now and over the next decade. Drink 2023-2033- 96
2019 Melka Estates ‘Majestique’ Syrah- This inky colored Syrah comes form the famed Paderewski Vineyard which is farmed by Epoch. The wine displays a dazzling array of flavors from black olive tapenade, smoked brisket, violets, creme de cassis and shades of tar. The wine effortlessly glides throughout the drinking experience. Concentrated and weightless, this is delicious wine that is best consumed now and over the next decade. Drink 2023-2033- 96
2019 Melka Estates ‘CJ’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2019 ‘CJ’ is named after the Melka’s children, as this has been produced since 1996. Cabernet Sauvignon dominant with small parts Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, that comes from a host of vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. Immediately gratifying on the palate, this shows beautiful concentration and structure, with a smooth texture. Enjoy this now and over the next ten plus years. Drink 2023-2033- 93
2018 Melka Estates ‘Metisse’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The stunning 2018 Melka Estates ‘Metisse’ comes from the Martinez Vineyard in the Napa Valley. A combination of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon with 23% Cabernet Franc and the remainder Petit Verdot, this delivers serious concentration and verve, with a silky mouthfeel and beautiful dark florals on the nose. The herbal and structure from the Petit Verdot is shining through. Creme de violette, mocha, anise and green herbs combine with massive blue fruit flavors. This is going to be at least a twenty year wine. Drink 2023-2043- 97
Melka Estates Métisse Montbleau Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Bordeaux-born and trained Philippe Melka is one of the region's most celebrated winemakers. He lends his talents as consulting winemaker and head of Atelier Melka to a dozen of Napa's premium producers, including Lail, Brand, and Dana Estates, crafting expressive wines that showcase the vision of his winery partners. All of his client's wines are delicious. However, Melka Estates is the wine that tells his personal story. It was created in partnership with his winemaker wife, Cherie.
From estate fruit growing on the slopes of Glass Mountain, Melka Metisse Montbleau Vineyard cabernet sauvignon is a bold, inky wine with character. The vineyard receives full sunlight throughout the day, creating robust, well-ripened fruit. This fruit produces bold wines with earthy dried tobacco, pencil lead, and black cherry, delicious with braised short ribs.
The Mekerra from Melka Wines in Napa Valley run by husband and wife team, Philippe and Cherie Melka. Having spent considerable time in France, they took their expertise back to California and now focus on a small portfolio of high-quality wine. Completely barrel-fermented, the Mekerra has been lauded for its fresh flavors of both green and yellow orchard fruit and has an aggregated score of 93 points, and comes in at an almost affordable $144 USD.
By Sara L. Schneider
Bordeaux-style reds from Napa and Sonoma
you should add to your cellar this fall.
Melka Estates 2018 Métisse Montbleau Vineyard, Napa Valley
Acclaimed winemaker Philippe Melka is responsible for some of Napa’s top bottles, but this beauty is a personal project from the tiny St. Helena vineyard he owns with his wife, Cherie. Earthy, savory aromas of forest floor mingle with crushed herbs, followed by an explosion of ripe blackberry and plum flavors carried by bold, plush tannins.