We could not have ordered a more ideal growing season for the debut vintage of the Pulido~Walker Mt. Veeder Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Ample spring rains, mild summer sun, and no major heat spikes allowed fruit to hang for one of the longest stretches in recent memory. 2018 will likely go down as one of those memorable Napa Valley vintages born of an entirely unmemorable growing season.
The Pulido~Walker Mt. Veeder Estate Vineyard is meticulously planted, drawing on several years of data collection prior to putting a single vine or rootstock in the ground. It has been quite the voyage of discovery shepherding this wine from the initial planting of clones 15, 30, 169, and 685 to the release of this inaugural vintage. We decided to harvest by clone and ferment the four wine lots individually. It was unanimous: the lots from clones 15 and 685 were standouts.
Mark Pulido and Donna Walker are immensely gratified that right out of the gate, this Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is every inch the thoroughbred, easily rivaling the wine from its sister vineyard on Pritchard Hill and a welcomed companion.
Winemaking & Tasting Notes
Much like a European vineyard, this one is a patchwork of micro blocks, some as small as half an acre. The peaks and swales in a mountain vineyard that can make for uneven ripening remain unplanted here, allowing for truly consistent exposure. The result is a Cabernet Sauvignon unlike any other we’ve tasted from Mt. Veeder—nothing else is quite this complete.
Patience was key in both fermentation and blending, as each of the lots had its own complexity. We were excited and challenged by how good the wine was from the outset, but starting from a blank canvas made it important not to rush. Clones 15 and 685 make up the lion’s share of the final blend, along with a few barrels each of clones 30 and 169, which gives this first release a great deal of nuance without sacrificing concentration.
There is none of the angularity in this wine that mountain fruit can sometimes produce. What dominates is luxurious black fruit, supported by an abundance of perfectly ripe, unobtrusive tannin. One of the hallmarks of better wines is that they drink well young, and that is certainly the case with the 2018 Pulido~Walker Mt. Veeder Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is packed with beautifully balanced proportions of fruit tannins and acidity, which will only make it more luxurious as it ages.
Thomas Rivers Brown, Winemaker