One of the great consulting winemakers in North America, Philippe Melka has his hand in everything from Paso Robles Syrah to Washington Cabernet. He even makes a stunning Rose! Originally from France, Melka holds a degree in Geology at the University of Bordeaux. After he took a class in winemaking in his final year of undergraduate, he went on to earn a Master’s degree in Agronomy and Enology. Wirth previous stops at Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau Petrus, in 1994 Melka returned to Napa full time and has been consulting for some of the great wineries in North America. Melka and his wife, Cherie produce four labels from different terroirs: Metisse from Napa Valley, Mekerra from Sonoma Valley, Majestique from around the world and CJ, also from Napa Valley.
I recently had a chance to taste these great wines with Cherie Melka and she talked about how she and Philippe met and the story behind Melka Wines. These are simply stunning and age worthy wines that deserve some serious attention. One of the great wines that I have sampled from Paso Robles in the past year, the 2014 Melka Wines ‘Majestique’ Syrah (WWB, 95) is sourced from the esteemed Paderewski Vineyard that is owned by Epoch. This dense monster of a wine is a true heavyhitter that shows tremendous range and concentration. Not to be outdone was their 2013 Melka Wines ‘Mekerra La Mekerra Vineyard’ Red Wine (WWB, 96) which is a simply scintillating bottling that would compete with any of the best Right Bank Bordeaux wines in the world. Learn more about these special wines at https://www.melkawines.com Here are the great new release wines by Melka Wines.
2016 Melka WInes Rose- This is 100% Cabernet Franc from a vineyard in Knight’s Valley just made for Rose. This has aromatics of cantaloupe, rose water and suggestions of watermelon. The acidity is gorgeous as there are light red fruit flavors with a touch of orange rind. Only 25 cases made. Drink 2017-2024- 92
2014 Melka Wines ‘Mekerra Proprietary White’ White Wine- This Sauvignon Blanc wine was 100% barrel fermented in cigar shaped barrels for 23 months. The vineyard is set on 2400 feet elevation which is extremely high elevation for the varietal. Seductive aromatics of honeydew, brioche and white flowers impress. The mouthfeel to this wine is gorgeous as flavors of honeysuckle, white peach, pink grapefruit and brioche. The weight is marvelous here. Drink 2017-2026- 92
2014 Melka Wines ‘Majestique’ Syrah- This wine is sourced from the Paderewski Vineyard in Paso Robles. The vineyard is set on limestone and is known for inky and highly concentrated Syrah. The wine is fermented in open top fermenters. The wine was aged for 22 months in 70% new French oak prior to bottling. The wine opens with a bright bouquet of Turkish coffee, spicebox, anise and black cherry cough syrup. The texture is simply gorgeous and downright scintillating. Flavors of creme de cassis, dark chocolate shavings, blueberry pie and suggestions of baking spices impress. The fruit weight is there as is an elegant side. Drink 2017-2030- 95
2013 Melka Wines ‘Mekerra La Mekerra Vineyard’ Red Wine- This vineyard is named after Philippe Melka’s Algerian roots. The wine is a blend of 53% Cabernet Franc and 47% Merlot. Set on limestone, the vineyard is planted entirely to Cabernet and Merlot.This homage to Right Bank Bordeaux wine was aged for 20 months in 60% French oak prior to bottling. This has an intense nose, yielding rather intoxicating aromatics of creme de cassis, coffee grounds, milk chocolate and sagebrush. Plush, hedonistic yet elegant, this has a gorgeous mouthfeel and silky texture as the wine glides along the mid-palate. The velvety textural experience brings you back to the glass. Mocha, anise, creme de cassis, spice box and sweet pipe tobacco flavors impress. This is a stunner by Melka Wines. This has some very serious aging potential. Drink 2018-2040- 96
2013 Melka Wines ‘Metisse Jumping Goat Vineyard’ Red Wine- This is sourced from a small, 3 acre vineyard planted in 1997 which is owned by Jim and Stephanie Gamble. The wine is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. This is their take on a left bank style wine. This inky colored wine begins with an intense aromas of Chinese black tea, anise creme de cassis and black olive tapenade with black cherry preserves. Dense, deep and layered the texture of this wine is downright delicious. Graphite, creme de cassis, anise and black olive with mocha flavors impress. The silky texture is incredible here as this is another heavyhitter by Melka Wines. The elegance is there. Drink 2018-2040- 96