2012 Ulysses Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
**#30 in The Top 100 Reds of Napa Valley 2016** Subtle aromas of crushed berries and tile. Mushrooms. Almost dusty. Full to medium body, powdery tannins and mouthfeel. Bright acidity that gives the wine beautiful and enticing freshness. Gentle and ethereal red. The first vintage of the new wine from the owners of Dominus. The vineyard is located in Oakville near Vine Hill. Drink or hold.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Ulysses (800 cases) is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest other Bordeaux varietals. A structured, dense purple wine that displays plenty of cedar wood, crème de cassis, licorice and graphite, the wine is full-bodied, rich, backward and dense, but beautifully pure fruit and an almost Pontet-Canet-like purity and density are hallmarks of this brilliant wine. Forget it for 4-5 years and drink it over the following 20-25. 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. (RP)
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is the first commercial release from Christian Moueix's Oakville property. Sensual and alluring, yet with striking depth, the 2012 is full of sweet red cherry, raspberry jam, wild flowers, all pushed forward in a sexy, layered Cabernet Sauvignon that delivers terrific depth for a wine from this generally uneven vintage. Sweet floral and spiced notes add lift on the finish. I imagine the 2012 will reward readers with a good two decades of fine drinking. These are the first wines from Christian Moueix's property in Oakville. In 2008 Moueix bought the Schmidt Ranch, which lies on the southeastern edge of Oakville, next to Vine Hill Ranch and Missouri Hopper. From what I have gathered, the Schmidt Ranch was once considered part of the Missouri Hopper vineyard. More recently, the fruit had gone to Swanson. The Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon is made at Dominus (there is no winery on the property) by Tod Mostero and the team at Dominus. The wines I have tasted so far reveal the distinctly ferrous, savory and tobacco notes that are typical of this sector of Napa Valley, with less of an emphasis on fruit. Compared to Dominus, Ulysses is a warmer site, so the tannins here tend to be a bit creamier than those at Dominus. These three wines certainly point to a very bright future. (AG)