MELBURY originates from a spectacular property on the slopes north of Lake Hennessey, in the hills east of Rutherford.
The name Melbury is in homage to an historic area in London, where the estate owners reside much of the year. Since its debut with the 1999 vintage, the consistent hallmarks of Melbury have been plush red fruits (currants, bing cherries), redolent with spice and the scent of violets. Elegance and a supple texture define the structure of this wine. The particular exposition of this rocky 7-acre hillside vineyard is southerly overlooking Lake Hennessey, allowing the vines to capture the morning sun yet moderating afternoon temperatures.
SOIL: Ancient sedimentary soil with compressed clay.
Eastern and Southeastern Exposure.
ELEVATION: 348-522 feet
The 2009 Melbury is a gorgeous, totally seamless wine. Ripe red fruit, flowers, spices and tobacco are some of the notes that flesh out in this rich, textured wine. The 2009 displays remarkable volume and tons of finesse. Here, too, I especially like the way the wine fleshes out on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2011)
Good deep red. Dark raspberry, redcurrant, licorice, tobacco and minerals on the nose. Juicy, bright and supple, with a distinctly airy texture and lovely inner-mouth verve. Not especially large-scaled but pliant, classy and light on its feet. Aromatic and claret-like wine, with firm but ripe tannins and noteworthy length.
Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (May/June 2011)
Out of bottle, the 2007 Melbury is even more impressive than it was from barrel. Aromas of cedarwood, barbecue spice, licorice, spring flowers, black currants and sweet kirsch jump from the glass of this dense purple-colored wine. A full-bodied texture, wonderful opulence, sweet velvety tannins and an extraordinary integration of all its component parts make for a prodigious Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 25-30+ years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2010)
The 2006 Melbury has a dense plum/purple color and a big, sweet, scorched earth, creme de cassis and blueberry nose, with hints of charcoal, spice box, and graphite. Rich, well-made, and showing exceptionally well from bottle, it is a wine that will certainly evolve for 25 or more years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2009)
Good deep ruby-red. Vibrant aromas of raspberry, red cherry, mocha and tobacco, enlivened by menthol and a distinctly rocky element. Very ripe but juicy and tightly coiled today, showing terrific energy but less easy sweetness and flesh than the Matriarch. But this is more sharply delineated and long, finishing with subtle suggestions of brown spices, tobacco and licorice. Built for a slow evolution in bottle.
Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (May/June 2009)
The 2005 Melbury offers lovely aromas of cedar, creme de cassis, licorice, and smoked/roasted herbs as well as good underlying acidity, full-bodied power, and stunning concentration, but also unmistakable elegance and harmony. While these are all big wines, there is an attractive European tannic profile to the 2005 Melbury. Although accessible now, 3–5 years of bottle age will be beneficial, and it should improve for 20–25 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2008)
Very sexy nose combines black raspberry, graphite, melted tar and smoke, plus a whiff of sweet butter. Lush, fleshy and sweet, with perfectly integrated, ripe acidity framing and lifting the middle palate. As bright as this is, the 2005 vintage has also brought uncommon breadth and sweetness.
94 (+?) Points
Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (May/June 2008)
Readers looking for a fruit-forward vintage should check out the 2004 Melbury. A sensational wine with an inky bluish/purple color, fabulous blueberry and blackberry fruit with hints of lead pencil, acacia flower, pain grille, and spice, the tannins are supple and the wine exuberant, flamboyant, ripe, rich, and long. This is sensational stuff that can be drunk now or cellared for 20–25 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2007)
Deep ruby-red. Exotic aromas of black raspberry, mocha and caramel. Sweet, lush flavors of cherry and menthol. Wonderfully pliant and fleshy for a 2003. Finishes firmly tannic and long, with compelling sweetness.
93 (+?) Points
Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (May/June 2006)
The classic, structured 2003 Melbury offers beautiful blueberry, blackberry, and cassis notes interwove with notions of spring flowers and espresso. This pure, full-bodied, opulent silky 2003 should age for 10–15 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2006)
A luxurious style, plush, rich and concentrated, with layers of mouthcoating currant, black cherry, blackberry and plum, with a touch of mocha-laced oak showing through on the finish. This packs a wallop of flavor but manages to be elegant and polished. Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2007 through 2014.
Jim Laube, Wine Spectator (November 15, 2005)
An exquisite effort, the 2002 Melbury Proprietary Red boasts a dense purple color to the rim along with a sweet perfume of acacia flowers, blueberry pie, licorice, and a hint of hot rocks. A wine of great intensity, tremendous voluptuousness and opulence, fabulous purity, low acidity, and silky tannin, this stunning 2002 can be drunk now and over the next 15–20 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2005)
Exhibits an inky plum/purple color as well as a big, sweet nose of roasted meats, black fruits, charcoal, and a hint of scorched earth. It possesses fabulous depth, sweet tannin, seamless balance, and a finish that lasts close to a minute. Anticipated maturity: 2006–2020.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (February 2005)
Dark, rich and plush, with a syrupy, concentrated core of currant, plum and blackberry fruit that's sharply defined, with generous mocha-scented oak, mixing power with restraint and elegance with finesse. To be released in April 2005. Best from 2006 through 2013. 700 cases made.
James Laube, Wine Spectator (October 15, 2004)
Deliciously complex, rich and polished, with layers of mocha-scented oak, ripe black cherry, blackberry and spice, offering nuances of cedar, chocolate and vanilla, and finishing with ripe, integrated tannins. To be released April 2004. Best from 2005 through 2012; 675 cases made.
James Laube, Wine Spectator (November 15, 2003)
The 2000 Melbury displays tremendously fragrant aromas of black cherries, currants, licorice, and toasty oak, medium to full body, luscious fruit on the attack, and a slight narrowing in the finish. While outstanding…. it needs to be drunk during its first 10–12 years of life.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (December 2003)
A tremendous Cabernet, dark, rich and voluptuous, with layers of supple blackberry, plum,
currant and spice, it fairly coats the palate with ripe, rich tannins, offering hints of cedar, olive and herb. Best from 2005 through 2014. 225 cases made.
James Laube, Wine Spectator (January 1, 2003)
While a name has not yet been determined, the following wine emanates from a single vineyard overlooking Lake Hennessey. The 1999 "S" is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This sensational effort boasts a Pauillac-like bouquet of cedarwood, sweet cassis, minerals, dried herbs, and tobacco. As the wine sits in the glass, aromas of chocolate also emerge. The wine is powerful yet elegant, rich and concentrated yet light on its feet. This is a provocative, supple-textured, impressive wine. It should drink well for 15 – 20 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (August 2002)