If you look at a map of Pritchard Hill, this property is literally right in the middle of Colgin, Ovid, and Continuum. We’re real lucky to have ended up here. GREG MELANSON

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The neighborhood of wineries on Pritchard Hill is legendary. While not technically an appellation, we are proud to champion its name. Greg Melanson’s vineyard, originally planted in the 1960s, is incredibly steep, providing optimal drainage. Its rocky face looks across at our closest neighbor, Colgin Cellars. Higher elevation and afternoon breezes coming from the Pacific cool the vineyard in the warm afternoons. Ideal real estate for world class Cabernet Sauvignon. This ten-acre mountain site is rugged, its Sobrante loam soil studded with volcanic rock. At an average elevation of 1,200 feet, the vineyard sits above the fog line and benefits from maximum sun exposure all day.

Melanson Vineyard

This year’s Melanson fermentation lasted 30 days on the skins. 2021 showed off the vineyard’s dark fruits, which is the hallmark of a great vintage for this site. It was pressed to 80% new Taransaud French oak barrels, Jeff’s choice barrel for our Melanson Cabernet Sauvignon. Like with all TOR wines, tasting was essential to the winemaking process, as Jeff and Tor made many decisions based purely on experience and intuition. Bottled, as always, without fining or filtration, allowing for maximum development of mouthfeel and texture.

“Early on, it was the consensus that this would be the best Melanson we’ve yet to produce. I am glad to see that it turned out that way after bottling. Our 2021 Melanson has an additional level of richness and a slightly higher level of black fruits over the typical red fruit spectrum that Pritchard Hill provides. An amazingly rich and seamless mid to back palate that shows off its mountain terroir. This will be the longest-lived Melanson we have ever made, an homage to the majesty of Pritchard Hill. Deep, dark, and opulent. Brilliant wine.”

—Jeff Ames

The 2021 growing season began with January, February, and March rains totaling close to eight inches. The ground water led to more canopy than the previous warm 2020, but all our sites are well drained and did not require significant canopy management. The summer was dry and uneventful. By harvest, the clusters were uniformly small, providing high skin to juice ratio, giving us wines with structure wrapped around a core of dense fruit. In the barrel, these wines evolved slowly gaining momentum and complexity over the 20-month elevage. It is an outstanding vintage from any vantage point.

Melanson Vineyard Map
appellationNapa Valley
soilSobrante loam, a clay loam mix, fractured volcanic material, and large volcanic rocks
climateWarm days due to distinct southern and western exposures, moderated by Lake Hennessey
topographyMountain hillside vineyard with elevations from 1163 to 1215 feet
vines10.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon clones 7 and 337, established in 1988