Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Château Boswell Napa Valley Estate Reserve Red Wine 2016

Château  Boswell Napa Valley Estate Reserve Red Wine 2016

As stated in our posting of our gala wine dinner the other night, we opened this ultra premium label, brought by Dr Dan from his cellar. He brought this in recognition of the destruction of Château Boswell in the ravaging Glass Wildfire that swept above Napa Valley just last week.

Château Boswell dates back forty years, when Richard Thornton Boswell founded a Napa Valley winery with the goal of excellence in small lot French Style wine production with wines sold directly to the client. At that time, The Wall Street Journal remarked upon his unique concept of a "Boutique" winery at a time when the other 71 wineries in the Napa Valley sold mostly through distribution. Today, Château Boswell remains among a handful of privately owned family wineries amidst the 554 wineries in the Napa Valley.

Château Boswell was founded in 1979 along the Napa Valley's Silverado Trail, under the guidance of Napa's foremost oenological consultant of the era, Andre Tschelistcheff. Their stated goal was to 'capture California’s purest representation of terroir from storied vineyards, Napa Valley’s Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Northern Santa Barbara’s spectacular Rita’s Crown, Radian and Bentrock Vineyards, Sonoma Coast's Sun Chase Vineyard, and from the Russian River Valley, Ritchie, Rued, and Dutton Sebastopol Vineyard designated Chardonnays.' Surprisingly, Boswell doesn't attract too much attention, given the pedigree of their vineyard sources and the quality of the winemaking. 

Boswell's initial vision was to focus solely on the noble Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon varietal in his stone winery sitting on the hill side along the Silverado Trail in Saint Helena. That vision and the resulting wine portfolio has expanded and become vastly diversified to include wines from many of California’s most treasured vineyards. Today, the Boswell family, under the direction of Susan Boswell, continues that mission, to craft the finest wines with the greatest expression of terroir.

Building upon the vision and tradecraft of famed winemaker André Tchelistcheff who helped launch the original winery with his immense knowledge and tradition, Boswell builds on that legacy and history in their continued quest for excellence lead by a current era legendary winemaker, Philippe Melka assisted by Associate Winemaker Allison Nunnikhoven. 

Of course we know and enjoy Phillipe Melka wines from his own private label, as well as his participation as a contributing winemaker to the Long Shadows Vintners Series, where nine of the world's leading winemakers crafting world class wines from Washington State Columbia Valley fruits.

Melka started at the top: his first job out of school was at the legendary first growth Bordeaux Château Haut Brion. From there, he took a position with the reputable Moueix Company and was sent to Dominus Estate in California Napa Valley Yountville to study soils in 1991. He returned to France in 1993 to deepen his expertise at Château Petrus. 

Melka has been fortunate to have been trained and influenced by some of the most notable personalities in the wine business such as Jean Delmas and Jean Philippe Masclef from Haut-Brion, Christian Moueix and Jean Claude Berrouet from Petrus, Paul Draper from Ridge, Daniel Baron from Silver Oak and the globetrotting wine consultant Michel Rolland with whom he continues to work with on consulting projects. Michel Rolland is also a consulting winemaker along with Melka in the Long Shadows Collector Series Project. (We were fortunate enough to recently acquire some of Rolland's MR Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for our cellar collection which we will look forward to experiencing when a suitable occasion warrants). 

He returned to Napa Valley in 1994 and founded Atelier Melka in 1995. Since then he has served as winemaking consultant for some of Napa’s most highly regarded properties including Boswell as well as Hundred Acre, Quintessa, Bryant Family, Seavey, Dana Estates and Vineyard 29. Robert Parker named Philippe Melka, one of the top nine winemakers in the world.

Château Boswell produces 5 wines from the Napa Valley; our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, RTB Red wine which is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, At Anchor Cabernet Sauvignon, and tonight's featured wine, Boswell Napa Valley Red Wine, which is a blend of fruit sourced from 3 Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, and a touch of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot.

As I mentioned above, at our gala wine dinner the other night, we opened this ultra premium label, brought by Dr Dan from his cellar, in recognition of the destruction of Château Boswell in the ravaging Glass Wildfire that swept above Napa Valley just last week. 

Ideally, we would hold this wine for at least and perhaps a dozen years before opening. Never-the-less, it was spectacular. Had this been opened, decanted and allowed to settle for a couple hours before tasting, it would've no doubt vied for WOTN - Wine of the Night.

Jed Dunnuck gave this 96+ points yet called it 'backward', but went on to say this is a 'serious red that has lots of blackcurrant fruit as well as terrific intensity in its tobacco, leafy herbs, graphite, and lead pencil aromas and flavors. Possessing full-bodied richness, and building tannins, it holds onto a beautiful sense of elegance and balance.'

It was aged 18 months in 70% new barrels. 

On opening this was tight and restrained. Only on follow on tasting two days later did this reveal its potential of what is to come, polished, elegance, a symphony of flavors. Dark purple color, medium-full bodied, soft sensuous black and blue fruits with well behaved silky tannins offering nicely integrated and balanced notes of tobacco, hints of sweet mocha, spice and herbs. 

RM 95 points.