Philippe Melka featured in just released "Wines of California" 

by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen

Bordeaux-born and -educated, Philippe Melka is a winemaker and winemaking consultant. His client list includes Vineyard 29, Quintessa, and Seavey, for which he makes well-regarded and High-scoring wines. He also makes wines under his eponymous label, Melka Wines, with his wife, Cherie.

How did you get involved in the world of wine?

I was born and raised in Bordeaux, intrigued by the land around me. When it came time for college, I acted on my childhood interests and studied geology at the University of Bordeaux. A class in winemaking propelled me to earn my master’s degree from the school in agronomy and enology.


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Wines of California
2012 Melka La Mekerra Vineyard Proprietary Red awarded 98! 

The other two wines from Knights Valley that I tasted include a virtually perfect 2012 Proprietary Red La Mekera made from 52% Cabernet Franc and 49% Merlot. This is Philippe Melka’s Northern California version of Cheval Blanc and he has pulled it off brilliantly. A real look-alike for that great estate in St.-Emilion, this wine has beautiful mulberry, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit mixed with licorice, forest floor and incense. Terrific in texture, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, stunning purity, yet a freshness and liveliness that is just remarkable. Sadly, there are only 349 cases of this wine that spent 20 months in French oak, of which 60% was new. This should continue to drink well for at least another decade or more.

Wine Advocate #215 Oct 2014
2012 Mekerra
2012 Melka Sauvignon Blanc Mekera Vineyard awarded 94! 

One might raise their eyebrows at the price of Melka's Sauvignon Blanc, but it’s one of the great Sauvignons being produced in the modern world. I don’t know how he quite pulled off such an amazing 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Mekera Vineyard, but it comes from a high elevation, hillside parcel in Knights Valley, which I think is where Peter Michael produces their Sauvignon. It’s a blend of 96% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Muscadelle. Why is it so magnificent? It shows incredibly sweet, ripe, exotic mango, caramelized grapefruit, melons and a hint of pineapple. With terrific texture, yet light on its feet, this is made from the same clone of Sauvignon which Vineyard 29 utilizes. It spent 20 months in 100% new French oak, and yet the oak is pushed way to the background of this gorgeous wine that should drink well for 4-5 years.

Wine Advocate #215 Oct 2014
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Melka Metisse Cabernet Sauvignon Jumping Goat Vineyard awarded 93! 

Melka makes a proprietary red wine from Jumping Goat Vineyard in St. Helena. He’s made this for a number of years and the 2012 Proprietary Red Jumping Goat, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 16% Petit Verdot, is superb. The color is more opaque and the wine is denser and richer with more blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with camphor and incense. With good purity, a full-bodied mouthfeel, sweet, integrated tannin and enough acidity to provide focus, this is a fabulous example of Napa viticulture. Drink 2016-2032.

Wine Advocate #215 Oct 2014
2012 Jumping Goat Vineyard
Napa Valley's best tasting experiences 

Melka Wines introduced a Winemaker Bootcamp experience this spring. Only offered two times a year, the two-day overnight adventure takes place at the winery's new Montbleau Estate, complete with bocce court, infinity pool, private cave, fire pit and expansive outdoor entertaining areas.

Kick things off with a Champagne reception hosted by Philippe and Cherie Melka, followed by a welcome dinner with the winemaking couple at the Melka's favorite Napa Valley restaurant. The hard work begins the next day with a tour of select Napa Valley vineyards including the La Mekerra Vineyard in Knights Valley. Back at Montbleau Estate wrap up the field experience with an interactive winemaking tutorial led by Philippe.

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