Philippe Melka

It’s been long known among the high end wine collectors and enthusiasts in the world that wines made by Philippe Melka sit among the top in the world. With a resume that commands big shot names like Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Petrus, Hundred Acre, Dominus Estate, Byrant Family, Dana Estates Moone-Tsai and much more, it’s not a wonder he was named one of the Top 10 winemakers in the world by Robert Parker in 2015.

Philippe spent his childhood growing up in Bordeaux, eventually getting a degree geology at University of Bordeaux. During his last year in school, he took a wine course (because why not?) that would change his life. Immensely intrigued by the wine making process, he began interning at Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Cheval Blanc, in where he eventually completed his masters in Agronomy and Enology.

Wanting to learn more, Melka set off to discover more about wine, traveling the world to Australia, Chianti, and fatefully, eventually Napa Valley where he worked at Dominus with Christian Moueix, and Paul Draper from Ridge Vineyards. It was at Ridge where he met Cherie, who was the lab manager at there, who would eventually become his wife. Both wanting to no longer be apprentices, Philippe and Cherie decided to stay in California, where opportunity was bigger, and allowed more chances to experiment and explore, where as in France, rigid structures were to be followed in winemaking.

After years of consulting, Philippe and Cherie opened up Melka Wines, in 1996, celebrating their first vintage of a Bordeaux styled Red Wine labeled Melka Metisse. Soon after, Melka’s success would eventually lead him to 3 more labels, the Mekerra, Majestique and CJ. Under each of these labels, would come forth an array of wines from blends, to single vineyards.

We were fortunate to get connected with Sylvie Laly, who graciously hosted us. Melka Wines in no way was some grand estate with gorgeous views and giant vinyeards, in fact it was just a giant metal barn, on a piece of property that was still being developed. However, inside the barn, was a beautifully set up tasting area that reminded us of a cozy home, and it really helped set the mood.

We started off with with the 2012 Melka CJ Cabernet Sauvignon blend, which was named after their kids Chloe and Jeremy. The goal of this wine was to really make a great value wine, which would show off the youthful spirit of their children.

2012 Melka “CJ” Cabernet Sauvignon: The CJ really did a good job in displaying a child’s youth with bright and lively aromas red fruits, black fruits, red berries, warm spices, currant and tobacco. The palate was rich, with big notes of red and black cherries, plums, tobacco, hints of mocha and baking spice. A very approachable wine in it’s youth (perhaps intended), the CJ was a delicious and well priced Cabernet. We gave this a 92/100 points at $65

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Red Stitch Wine

With the growth and resurgence of wine consumption in the latest years, many athletes and celebrities have been adding their names to wine labels as another source of income. With this shift in wine marketing, more often than not, the wine quality doesn’t represent the same amount of prestige behind the celebrity names. However, sometimes, you find a celebrity who cares for the quality and art behind wine, and what comes out of it is a big name behind a great wine.

Red Stitch Wine was founded by three families, the Aurilias, Miceks, and Roberts families through years of friendship and wine tasting together. After Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts retired from Major League Baseball in 2008, they sought out to really get serious in entering the wine business. Having multiple tastings with famous winemaker Rolando Hererra (Mi Sueno, Baldacci, Noemi, etc.) they developed a great relationship with him, which eventually led into the partnership as winemaker of Red Stitch Wines. Since their inaugural vintage in 2007, Red Stitch really established themselves as a boutique producer of world-class wines with big celebrity names behind it, while giving a subtle nod to their baseball background with the red stitches that cover a baseball.

We managed to come across wines from Red Stitch a couple of years back, and found their wines to be incredibly well made and we were fortunate enough to try their recent vintage releases.

Red Stitch Wine 2013 Chardonnay

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