The name Melbury is in homage to an historic area in London, where the estate owners reside much of the year. Melbury originates from a spectacular property on the slopes north of Lake Hennessey, in the hills east of Rutherford. At just under 7 acres it is the smallest of the Bond sites. The soil is comprised of clay and humus (organic material that forms in soil when plant matter decays). Hillside clay offers advantages of retaining moisture during dry vintages, while providing appropriate drainage during wet vintages. The particular exposure of this steep, rocky hillside vineyard is south/south-east, overlooking Lake Hennessey, allowing the vines to capture the morning sun yet moderating afternoon temperatures. It is one of the first hillside vineyards in Napa Valley developed with vertical rather than horizontal row orientation. The Melbury vineyard is at an elevation of between 400 and 500 feet. Finesse and focus, combined with purity of fruit, florality. A very intellectual wine. There is refinement and life here. Leafy, great tannins, subtle oak. Fresh, precise and truly elegant. (AWH)
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2032
The 2018 Melbury is, as always, the first of the single-vineyard wines presented at Bond. The order is always the same: Melbury-Quella-St. Eden-Vecina and Pluribus. I suppose that makes sense from the standpoint of concentration and structure, but it is quite penalizing for the Melbury, a wine that is more about elegance than power or tannins. That said, the 2018 is not a shy wine, it certainly has plenty of depth. Freshness, energy and verve are the signatures in a Cabernet that is all about intangibles. Hints of dark red cherry, tobacco, rose petal, mint and sweet spice emerge over time. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Anticipated maturity: 2028-2043