Ulysses vineyard was acquired in 2008 by Christian Moueix. Situated along Napa Valley’s Oakville bench and extending over an alluvial fan at the foot of the Mayacamas Range, the site was once part of the famed Charles Hopper ranch and it is exceptional for winegrowing. The soil is composed of deep, gravelly, clay loam and is particularly well-suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ulysses is a distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It should be decanted prior to serving.
AG 95: The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a very pretty Oakville Cabernet. Bright acids and lifted aromatics meld into a core of dark red-fleshed fruit laced with attractive exotic overtones. A wine of linear intensity, the 2019 impresses with its persistence and overall drive. It will be interesting to see if the 2019 develops a bit more mid-palate richness and overall depth. I suspect the heavy rains in spring and two heat spikes in late summer had some effect in a site, which was entirely replanted in 2008.
AG 97: The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine off Christian Moueix's Oakville ranch so far. Deep, creamy and generous, the 2018 captures the unqiue blend of fruit in a savoriness that is typical of the southern sector of Oakville where cooling winds from the south lend palpable freshness and vivacity to the vines. Black fruit, chocolate, spice, lavender and new leather are some of the many notes that build into the sumptuous finish.
WA 96: The current-release 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon shows more cherries and bay leaf on the nose than prior vintages. There's still a solid framework of cedar, loam and cassis, hints of mocha and licorice, but there's also a bit more freshness and lift. It's medium to full-bodied and densely concentrated yet silky and finessed, with a long, elegant finish.
WA 95+: The deeply concentrated and densely colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon needs additional cellaring. While its tannins are ripe and reasonably supple, the flavors need time to unfold—right now, there's a lot of dark chocolate, mocha and rich loamy notes, with black cherries and cassis yet to really blossom. Full-bodied but restrained, elegant and reserved, it's the most Bordeaux-like of these three prior vintages, still in need of additional aging.
JS 99: Aromas of sweet berries, fresh herbs, currant bush and licorice. Terracotta. Full body, layered and soft, velvety and focused tannins. Breathtaking texture. The focus ad polished is phenomenal. Harmonious. Enticing. Fascinating and thoughtful. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Drink or hold.
WA 94: The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was aged for 17 months in 45% new French oak, is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is dense purple, with sweet cedar wood, unsmoked cigar tobacco, crème de cassis, and black raspberries in a classic, almost St.-Julien/Pauillac style. This emerged from a valley floor vineyard on the west side of Napa, where Christian Moueix told me that 2014 was characterized by generally slightly higher than average temperatures for the summer with only minor heat spikes in June and July. August and September went off without a hitch, and the harvest took place during the month of September. This full-bodied wine will hit its peak in 3-5 years and last for 25-30.
AG 91-94: In 2014, the Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, virile and imposing, with notable depth and intensity for the year. Grilled herbs, smoke, tar, graphite, tobacco and licorice meld together in a deep, effortless wine that remains quite embryonic. The darker tonalities of fruit recall the 2013, but the forward, dense fruit leans more towards the style of the 2012. The story of 2014 comes down to rain. Specifically, there was none, and the wine very much reflects that struggle with nature.