For a belated birthday dinner for his mother, son Ryan invited us over for dinner with the kids and grandkids. He served grilled Prime New York strip steaks, asparagus and baked potatoes. With dinner, he served the just released Louis Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet 2014 that got a rave 97 point review from Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate. I brought a Melka CJ Napa Cab 2004.
While such a stratospheric rating is cause for notice and worth checking out, its often in the eye of the beholder and not necessarily consensus opinion. I found the Martini a good wine from a good vintage, offering good (but not extraordinary) value QPR (quality price ratio), not extraordinary in any way.
The Martini was a great accompaniment to the grilled steaks. It had a firm structured backbone core of smooth approachable tannins, but I didn't find it to back it up with the dense, rich full body and concentrated fruits cited by Parker. It was garnet colored, medium full bodied, black currant and black cherry fruits, accented by tones of black tea, tobacco leaf, smoke and glycerin.
I would not say it calls for one to rush out and buy it and try it. With 11000 cases available, it will be available in distribution, and will face competition from many other great wines that roll out from what will be a top rated vintage with many high achievers. A good buyer's market since Bordeaux will also be releasing a highly rated vintage this year as well.
RM 90 points.
Parker wrote - "... this big, full-bodied, boisterous Cabernet Sauvignon (that) has a dense ruby/purple color, notes of underbrush, forest floor, tobacco leaf and oodles of blackcurrants and black cherries, with a touch of woodsmoke. The full-bodied wine hits the palate with a cascade of glycerin, fruit and purity. This is a beauty – dense, rich, and structured, but capable of lasting 20 or more years."
The Wine Advocate. 97 Points. Robert M. Parker Jr. October 2016
Peter Melka 'CJ' Napa Valley Cabernet 2004
For dinner with the kids and two grandkids, I was drawn to bring this label that is a namesake celebration tribute to Melka's two children, Chloe and Jeremy. Indeed, Melka writes on the rear label, "CJ reflects the balance and harmony that Chloe and Jeremy bring to the Melka family." The messaging and fun branding is reinforced with the 'children's' handprints represented on the label and on the wine capsule (shown below).
Blend of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 93% and Cabernet Franc 7%.