2013 Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon

Year: 2013
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 96
Vinous Media: 95+
James Suckling: 98
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Pre-Order
Price :
$149.95

"The 2013 Ulysses is absolutely mind-boggling, as so many wines from this vintage are. Gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruit, along with the telltale cassis and floral notes, jump from the glass. Again, this is Pauillac-like, with some cedar wood and subtle barrique smells. Again produced nearly all from Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is full-bodied, powerful, rich and long, with slightly sweeter tannins than the 2012. Production in 2013 was 960 cases, and Moueix told me that the entire growing season averaged about two and half weeks ahead of schedule from bloom break to harvest. This is a prodigious effort and will certainly stand as the great Ulysses of the first trio to be released. I suspect it will be drinkable in 3-4 years and keep for 30 or more, given the Moueix track record.

I had the privilege to taste this new estate vineyard wine from Christian Moueix several months before the 2012 would be released. Moueix purchased the old Schmidt Ranch, which is just to the north of his iconic Napanook vineyard. The AVA is different, as he is on the southern border of the Oakville appellation. This is pure valley floor soil with great drainage, just to the south of Martha's Vineyard and the famous To Kalon of both Mondavi and Andy Beckstoffer. Several vintages have been made, but not yet released. The first official release is the 2012. This is a completely different style of wine than those produced at Dominus. While the property is much smaller (40 acres vs. the very large Napanook vineyard), a similar élevage is employed, with 40% to 50% new French oak, and bottling after the wine spends 20 months in wood. Moueix told me that the site, even though it is so close to Napanook, is warmer in the summer by several degrees and colder in the winter, Additionally, the soils are deeper. What Moueix has done is produce a wine that is in complete contrast to Dominus. The wines of Dominus are known for their silky complexity, and even though there is virtually no Merlot in any of the top vintages, they always have an almost Pomerol-like lushness and opulence. Ulysses, on the other hand, is a Napa version of a first or second growth Pauillac. The crème de cassis, the licorice, the purity and the graphite notes are present in all three of these vintages, just in varying degrees." (WA)

"Gravel, smoke, graphite, savory herbs, tobacco and iron are some of the signatures in the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. A typical wine from the eastern sector of Oakville on the border with Yountville, the 2013 is loaded with feral, savory notes, while the expression of blue/blackish fruit lies a bit more in the background. In 2013, the main signature is an expression of structure that is both vertical but also incredibly insistent through to the finish. In other words, this is a super-classic 2013 built for the cellar." (VM)

"Fabulous subtle aromas of black currants, violets and lilacs with a hot stone undertone. Full-bodied and dense, it shows such wonderful energy and synergy that delivers a firm yet gentle tannin backbone and complex mouthfeel that seduces you. Evolves wonderfully. Second wine from this new estate, which is owned by Christian Moueix of Dominus and Bordeaux. Release is March 2017." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Ulysses reflects the potential and individuality of the Ulysses Vineyard. Using a minimalist approach, Christian Moueix and his team employ careful observation and restrained intervention from vineyard to bottle to create an authentic, pure and radiant wine.

Ulysses is a distinctive estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon with touches of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It should be decanted prior to serving.

Ulysses 2012, our first vintage, is a finely sculpted wine with powerful momentum and lift.

Ulysses is a result of Christian Moueix’s ongoing quest to explore the character of an exceptional terroir and to translate its precise quality in a wine. His journey began in Bordeaux and continues today in both France and Napa Valley.

Son of Bordeaux wine merchant Jean-Pierre Moueix, Christian was born in Libourne, France. Having studied viticulture at University of California, Davis, his career has been marked by the introduction of revolutionary vineyard techniques. Today, along with Dominus Estate and Ulysses Vineyard in Napa Valley, he and his son Edouard, produce wine from eight family chateaux in Pomerol and Saint Emilion.

Christian is driven by his zealous pursuit of perfection and his belief in stewardship. His 45-year career has earned him recognition as one of wine’s great visionaries. Christian interprets the classic tale of Ulysses’ voyage as an epic journey and a lesson in humility. To him, the story evokes commitment, passion and the passage of time, all elements essential to our understanding of a vineyard and its potential to produce great wines.