2014 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley

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Community Tasting Note

  • MJP Hou TX Likes this wine: 94 points

    October 17, 2020 - I've been blindly buying Tusk since the 14 vintage. I'm guilty of buying labels in my early going and I'm trying to refine my purchases now that I have a sense of what I like.

    14 Tusk is a GREAT wine if you like the Melka silky, plush and polished. Lots of fruit with a long finish. I did like it best on day 3.
    For the price I'm not blown away... today. I've had other Melka wines that I truly enjoyed more. 12 J.Daniel to name one. For my palate this will be something I will need revisit years from now. Hold 94+.

    3 people found this helpful 1,443 views


  • csimm1161 commented:

    10/18/20, 8:42 AM - Thanks for the updated review. I’m always wondering about the timing of opening Tusk and whether it is crafted as a near term drinker or more cellar worthy. After the plush baby fat is shed, I hope the quality of fruit remains as advertised and holds up for years to come - especially in more even-keeled years like 2014.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    10/18/20, 12:18 PM - I've realized the sweat spot for me with regards to Napa Cabernet is aged to the brink of only some primary fruit being left. I found that to be the case around 10 years for some wine makers on the valley floor. I was just in Napa and Brad Grimes had us over to Abreu for lunch. Drinking 08 Thorevilos, 09 Cappella & 10 R.H. was just right in my wheelhouse.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    10/18/20, 3:57 PM - I'm right there with you. I'm less appreciating the young baby fat on these front-loaded Napa Cabs and have become more interested in how they evolve. That said, I still want fruit flavor and not some leathery, tired flab-a-puss, so it's something to keep a bead on especially with these opulent Cabs. Depends on how they are ultimately crafted I suppose. Abreu seems more built for some cellaring and they really do start to shine a decade+ from vintage. The Brad lunch on the bench outside is a treat for sure!

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    10/18/20, 11:26 PM - Interesting note here. I had this back at Tusk last year- I am even more curious how long they decanted this before our arrival as I am not a sweet flabby palate rather prefer baby fat gone but solid fruit with complexity to back it up. Depending on the wine maker it’s usually 5 - 15 years for me with a million exceptions of course :) More than that it looses too much fruit for me and when it’s these super intense almost sweet wines I almost get nervous letting them sit and not drinking up earlier as I fear alcohol or acid might become to pronounced. Now add that to an ever changing palate and I could be back to drinking Boone’s Farm strawberry hill in a red solo cup out of a bendy straw.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    10/19/20, 5:48 AM - Csimm & Lite- I've come to the realization that I have plenty of Melka consulting wines in the cellar. Bulgheroni, Brand, Fairchild, Tusk, Lail etc... I don't recall having anything of real significant bottle age to date, maybe my favorite oldest (still a baby) wine was the Lail 12 J. Daniel. This bottle still had plenty of baby fat and might hit it's prime drinking window after year 10.

    On our recent trip to Napa, we had the 18 line up of Vice Versa which is also Philip Melka. Patrice sprinkled in some 16 & 17. Each wine was very different with regards to the single vineyard nuance but the "style" was the same. I purchase the 18 LPV. For my palate, that was the wine I liked most. Side note: Dr. Crane was not presented. Patrice was super generous with his tasting as glassware was everywhere. On the same trip we also sampled 18 Memento Mori in the downtown tasting room. A more limited tasting on the MM. 18 Vine Hill & the blend. I believe we had the 15 blend which was showing great. All things considered, I need to broaden out my purchases and stop blindly buying with fingers crossed that these wines are "my style" in ten years.

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    10/19/20, 7:33 AM - Great info. Plus you are now getting into Bordeaux (sorry) which is just another curve ball to consider.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    10/19/20, 7:52 AM - Bordeaux adds a new layer... then comes Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône... ugh... My quest to diversify my celler a few years ago (from being almost entirely all Napa cab) is an even more laborious effort than I thought it was gonna be. I’m now around 70/30 foreign/domestic. So many rabbit holes to take...

    .....NEVER ......ENDING.......

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    10/19/20, 7:56 AM - And then there is the drinking. The constant chattering of the various bottles vying for your attention while you try to never disappoint a country, region, appellation, winery, winemaker, vintage- damnit it’s just so hard.

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