May 27, 2021 - Decanted for 8+ hours. Very fragrant and soft after a long decant and excellent with dinner. This was my first experience with Tusk and I expected it to be over the top, but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. I think these bottles will be much better in 5-10 years (for my taste preference) but it drinks well now with air.
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+.
September 27, 2020 - Perplexed by the fascination and allure of this property, whose intent is creating a "lifestyle luxury brand" first and a wine second (though prepared to be amazed). Tawdry and manufactured, this Tusk on this night came across as a Frankenstein of over-extracted components riveted together. An unintegrated Dole fruit cup of syrupy wild berries, damn near tasted fortified. Calling it a dumb phase is a hard sell, more like Asperger's. Were all its adoring fans duped by the marketing or did I just have a bad bottle, dunno. Have affection for Napa cabs, though tend not to gravitate toward Philippe Melka projects, this reminds me why. The value is in the bottle and not its contents. Caveat emptor. A generous 88.
September 25, 2019 - What Csimm said although it opens up muted and tight. Open and give it air. Agree 2012 was a more elegant (not the right word but compared to 2014 works) than the 2014. Great wines- as good as other $500+ wines, jury is still out. Will hold my final opinion until then. Preferred 2014 to 2012. 2013 over both.
September 14, 2019 - Tusk vertical - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 (Seven Hills restaurant, SF + Tusk party - with Cristal2000): Opulence is the word of the day here folks. Expressive and fruit-forward, the 2014 washes over the palate with velvety, lush black berry fruit. The hallmark slice of red fruit interjects briefly, but is almost immediately washed-over by the prevailing black core. Mid-palate is a gushing of more fruit and dark chocolate notes, completely enveloping the palate and providing a hedonistic, chewy texture that bulldozes the heaping core toward its ultimate crescendo. Finishes lavishly long, with a sultry, saliva-saturated mouthfeel that lasts for over a minute.
This 2014 is the most sumptuous and extravagant of the bunch. It had a similar profile as the 2012, but had MUCH more of EVERYTHING, with the volume turned up to 11. Next to the 2014, the 2012 seemed soft and almost flat at times. The “I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it” 2014 was bested only by the more chiseled and focused 2015, which held a bit more sophistication than the more party-ready 2014.
For my palate, the 2014 is firing off right now. The celebration is in full swing, the cops haven’t been called yet, and someone brought a shaved goat and threw it in the punchbowl…..yah, it’s that kind of party….
Drink now and over the next 5+ years.
September 13, 2019 - Tusk Vertical 2011-2015 plus 2016 L'Orange - W/CSIMM1161; 9/13/2019-9/14/2019 (Seven Hills Restaurant, SF & Tusk Party): As noted by CSIMM, it was quite clear when we had 2012-2015 at dinner that the best wines went youngest to oldest. So the 2014 here was the second best wine of the night, and really quite excellent. It reflected the vintage nearly perfectly, with a fun nearly over the top opulence and forward style that is easy to really enjoy.
Expressive black cherries, blackberries, cedar, fresh cut flowers and anise. Big time black and blue fruit envelope the palate immediately, with layer upon layer of fruit and mineral driven flavors hitting all the right notes. Sweet fine grained tannins and silky texture make this a delight to all the senses. It's got great depth of flavor, but perhaps will not be quite as complex and well rounded as the 2015 edition. Great wine.
June 2, 2018 - Napa Cabernets + SQN + others (Home): All previous notes apply. PnP was a little boozy, but that settled down after some swirling in the glass. It was very good, but couldn’t fully run away from the liqueur component that was making it come off a little bit more like a cocktail than a top-shelf Cabernet. On the day of the tasting, this was operating at around the 94-95 mark for me.
On day two, this became a pretty awesome bottle of bad-assness. Similar to the 2013 Tusk, but with a little more of a fruit-driven profile. Hyper-pure and elevated quality was indeed evident, with black and red core fruit, deeply pitched, but with a lift and drive that catapulted the flavors out of the park. Velvety and silky but simultaneously powerful and intense. It is a tremendous modern day bad boy for sure, but with a cultured side that takes multidimensional and skyscraper complexity to the next level. I hope to hold remaining bottles until 2020+.
April 28, 2018 - Very tightly wound right now. I'm not certain how anyone can rate this wine correctly right now. Powerful, dense, dark baking chocolate, blackberry cassis with a lot of pepper and a lot of tannin on the finish. 100% tuxedo, but with a very stiff tannic finish. Full bodied wine without a doubt. This one has the makings of a 96/97 in probably 10 years, but I do think that quite a bit of this wine was masked in the tannin which wasn't all that off-putting. For those who like to drink them really young and don't mind the tannic 'iron curtain' shutting down the show, this one is probably a 98 right NOW and it truly is an excellent display of the power of St. Helena and the talent of Melka. Would love to own one of these so that I could see how it develops over the next 15-20 years.
April 4, 2018 - Finished the bottle. Two hour total decant. Previous notes apply. Compelling juice with real promise. Hold until 2020+
April 2, 2018 - Decided I needed to check my friend CSIMM1161's work on this wine. As per usual, his review is spot on. Coravin pour and WOW has this come a long way from when I had it at the Tusk party. Lots of black cherry, raspberry, cedar, black licorice and expressive floral notes. The pallet is a mix of black and red fruit, a touch of oak and just impeccable texture and tannin management. The definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove. Mega full bodied, with a huge core of concentrated weightless power leading to a ridiculously long 1min+ finish. This will clearly get better, but it's quite a pleasure to have it now. Total class.