Ulysses vineyard was acquired in 2008 by Christian Moueix. Situated along Napa Valley’s Oakville bench and extending over an alluvial fan at the foot of the Mayacamas Range, the site was once part of the famed Charles Hopper ranch and it is exceptional for winegrowing. The soil is composed of deep, gravelly, clay loam and is particularly well-suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Since the acquisition, Christian Moueix and his team have pursued an in-depth understanding of the soil and microclimate and have undertaken a lengthy and meticulous vineyard restoration. Dry farming, the foundation of Ulysses’ sustainable farming practices, enhances root depth and resistance to drought, resulting in a wine that is a pure expression of terroir. The winemaking team’s intention is to produce a wine reflecting the exceptional potential and individuality of the Ulysses vineyard. The approach is minimalist, with attentive observation and restrained intervention. Harvested at perfect ripeness with the utmost care, the grapes undergo both cluster and berry selection before a gentle vinification and aging. Ulysses is a distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It should be decanted prior to serving. In 2021, Ulysses received its CCOF (“California Certified Organic Farmers”) certification for organic farming practices.
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. [96 Points, Robert M. Parker, Jr. – December 2015, robertparker.com]