2012 Ulysses

2012 Ulysses

Napa valley, California, USA, 750ml
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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. I had the privilege to taste this new estate vineyard wine from Christian Moueix several months before the 2012 would be released. Moueix purchased the old Schmidt Ranch, which is just to the north of his iconic Napanook vineyard. The AVA is different, as he is on the southern border of the Oakville appellation. This is pure valley floor soil with great drainage, just to the south of Martha's Vineyard and the famous To Kalon of both Mondavi and Andy Beckstoffer. Several vintages have been made, but not yet released. The first official release is the 2012. This is a completely different style of wine than those produced at Dominus. While the property is much smaller (40 acres vs. the very large Napanook vineyard), a similar élevage is employed, with 40% to 50% new French oak, and bottling after the wine spends 20 months in wood. Moueix told me that the site, even though it is so close to Napanook, is warmer in the summer by several degrees and colder in the winter, Additionally, the soils are deeper. What Moueix has done is produce a wine that is in complete contrast to Dominus. The wines of Dominus are known for their silky complexity, and even though there is virtually no Merlot in any of the top vintages, they always have an almost Pomerol-like lushness and opulence. Ulysses, on the other hand, is a Napa version of a first or second growth Pauillac. The crème de cassis, the licorice, the purity and the graphite notes are present in all three of these vintages, just in varying degrees.
  • Alcohol %: 14-15%
  • Decant Time: 2 hours
  • Taste: Cedar wood, Crème de cassis, Licorice, Graphite, Elegance, Structure
  • Food Matching: Grilled ribeye steak, Roasted lamb shank, Mushroom risotto, Aged hard cheeses
  • Grape Variety: Cabernet_Sauvignon : 95%, Cabernet_Franc , Petit_Verdot ,


Tasting note


The 2012 Ulysses Vineyard from Oakville, Napa Valley, is a testament to the meticulous care and passion of Christian Moueix. This bold and structured red wine exudes a dense purple hue, revealing a complex bouquet of cedar wood, crème de cassis, licorice, and graphite. Full-bodied and rich, it offers a palate that is both backward and dense, yet marked by a striking purity of fruit. With an elegance akin to Pontet-Canet, this wine promises to evolve beautifully over the next two decades. Decant for two hours to fully appreciate its depth and pair it with robust dishes like grilled ribeye steak or roasted lamb shank for an unforgettable dining experience.

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