Melka Mekerra 2012
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Philippe Melka spent most of his youth in Bordeaux, studying at the University and then training in enology at Chateau Haut Brion in Graves. Melka continued to be fascinated with soil types at Chateau Petrus, Dominus in Napa and Badia O Coltibuono in Chianti. At Melka wines, Philippe and his wife Cherie have been sharing their passion for wine since 1996. Mekerra is a distinctive name chosen as an homage to Philippe's father. Mekerra is the name of a river that flows close to his hometown. The land for this vineyard was purchased in 2001 after searching for many months for a location that would allow the Melka's to produce profound terroir-based wines in California. The elevation at 2500 feet and its steep slopes, create intriguing microclimates with varying sun exposure. The soils are rich in volcanic ash – ideal for growing Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay and clay – for Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. The first production from this site was in 2007 with the Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend.
Wine AdvocateThe other two wines from Knights Valley that I tasted include a virtually perfect 2012 Proprietary Red La Mekera made from 52% Cabernet Franc and 49% Merlot. This is Philippe Melka's Northern California version of Cheval Blanc and he has pulled it off brilliantly. A real look-alike for that great estate in St.-Emilion, this wine has beautiful mulberry, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit mixed with licorice, forest floor and incense. Terrific in texture, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, stunning purity, yet a freshness and liveliness that is just remarkable. Sadly, there are only 349 cases of this wine that spent 20 months in French oak, of which 60% was new. This should continue to drink well for at least another decade or more.