“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses
Located along Napa Valley’s Oakville bench, Ulysses Vineyard sits on an alluvial fan at the foot of the Mayacamas Range.
This historic vineyard was part of the original Charles Hopper Ranch in the 1800’s and was purchased by Christian Moueix in 2008.
Since then, Christian and his team have undertaken meticulous vineyard restoration, carefully studying the gravelly clay loam soils and the property’s microclimates. Dry farming, which enhances root depth and resistance to drought, is essential to produce Ulysses, a Cabernet Sauvignon that is a pure reflection of this significant terroir.
Budbreak: April 5 (historical average April 1)
Bloom: May 12 (historical average May 19)
Veraison: July 24 (historical average July 30)
Harvest Start: Sept 10
Harvest End: Sept 13
Yields: 1.5 to 2.7 tons/acre
Bottling: July 2015
Cases Produced: 960
Release Date: Spring 2017
2013 WEATHER: 2013 was characterized by a very dry spring and a consistently warm summer/early fall. Only 6.4 inches of rainfall were recorded from January to June (versus 17.7 inches historical norm). Low reserves of soil water limited vine growth. Average temperatures remained warm throughout spring and summer. An exceptional heat spike of 106.5 F occurred on June 30. No heat spikes were recorded in July, August or September. In terms of thermal time (growing degree days), the season was 18 days ahead of the norm at the beginning of harvest (Sept 10). Ripening was exceptionally early.
Winemaker's Notes: Ulysses 2013 delivers savory notes of woodland strawberries and jasmine. Luminous and tightly woven, the wine seizes the palate with grip and exuberance.
2013 Ulysses Napa Valley - James Suckling – 98 Points
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.
2013 Ulysses Napa Valley - Robert Parker – 96 Points
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.
2013 Ulysses Napa Valley - Vinous – 95+ Points
95+ Points - 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. Drinking Window - 2023–2038 -- Antonio Galloni
Budbreak: April 12 (historical average April 1)
Bloom: May 22 (historical average May 19)
Veraison: July 31 (historical average July 30)
Harvest Start: October 16
Harvest End: October 20
Yields: 1.5 to 2.7 tons/acre
Bottling: June 2014
Cases Produced: 800
Release Date: Spring 2016
2012 WEATHER: Rainfall was heavy in spring with 15.5 inches in March (versus 4.6 inches historical norm) and 2.8 inches in April (versus 1.9 inches historical norm).
Temperatures were mild and warm throughout the summer and early fall, and ripening was even thanks to the absence of heat spikes in August or September. Temperatures peaked on October 1-2 at 101-102 F.
2012 Ulysses Napa Valley - James Suckling – 97 Points
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.
2012 Ulysses Napa Valley - Robert Parker – 93 Points
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.
2012 Ulysses Napa Valley - Vinous – 93 Points
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. Drinking Window - 2017–2032 -- Antonio Galloni
2012 shipping Spring 2016