While on our annual winter trip to the Napa Valley in 2013, we were invited to the "kick off" for a new winery named Pulido-Walker, and the first of their three single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. That wine was the single best wine we had on our entire trip!
Pulido-Walker is dedicated to the perfection of every element needed to craft exceptional single-vineyard designate Cabernet Sauvignon. Proprietors Mark Pulido and Donna Walker grew up in pharmacy families, and this early common experience is integral to the Pulido-Walker philosophy. Their scientific backgrounds make Mark and Donna precise, inquisitive, and detailed; they know that perseverance and attentive observation yield results worth waiting for. Few people have the commitment or the endurance—never mind the conviction of their principles—to completely reframe the experiment mid-stream.
Their winemaker is the highly sought-after Thomas Brown, who also crafts the high scoring and incredible wines at Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and others. He has been in Napa since 1997, where he began his career at Turley Cellars and now makes wines for select premium labels. Over the last decade, Thomas has received not just one but eight 100-point Wine Advocate Parker scores to go along with two 100-point awards from Wine Spectator. Beyond generosity and roundness in tannins, his wines have few common traits and are very individual. Pulido~Walker's Cabernet Sauvignons promise to be among his most distinctive.
"What separates the best valley floor sites from good valley floor sites is their ability to drain," explains winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. Panek Vineyard blankets a rocky, gently sloping knoll in the shadow of the Mayacamas Mountains along the old Napa River bed wash. The loamy soil, with its highly compacted alluvial deposits of gravel, provides optimal drainage. The valley basin is also more temperate than the hillsides surrounding St. Helena, making it ideal for slower ripening and full development of flavors. These elements coalesce in low yields of reliably superb fruit.
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard comes from a site in St. Helena and offers a darker, savory style as well as plenty of blue fruits, violets, tobacco, and damp earth. With bright acidity, a silky, elegant texture, and terrific purity, it's a more vibrant, juicier, fresher wine than the Melanson Vineyard. Give bottle 2-4 years and drink over the following two decades."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard is gorgeous. Bright red cherry, sweet tobacco, mint and rose petal notes give the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard a level of brilliance that sets it apart from most other Cabernets being made off this site. Plush, elegant and sensual to its core, the 2016 is a winner from Pulido-Walker and winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown."