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The 2005 Melbury, which comes from the hills east of Rutherford just north of Lake Hennessey and Pritchard Hill, is absolutely spectacular. This is a 7-acre parcel, planted in sedimentary and clay soils on steep slopes. Deep purple, with blueberry, black raspberry and graphite notes, a gracious and generous, full-bodied mouthfeel, soft, but noticeable tannin, a refreshing finish and loads of complexity, this is a compelling 2005 that seems to be coming close to its plateau of maturity, where it should last for 20-25 years.Robert Parker | 95 RPA very pleasant surprise, the 2005 Melbury is also the first wine in this tasting that shows the onset of aromatic notes that are leading into the tertiary realm. Even so, the 2005 possesses superb depth and terrific resonance in all of its dimensions. I expect the 2005 will drink well for another 10-15 years given its palate weight.Vinous Media | 95 VMLots of fresh herbs and spices in this beautiful red wine. Offers loads of red and black currants and chocolate, with a fine application of cedar and cigar box from oak. Very fine, enormously likeable. Drink now through 2015.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEThe Melbury bottling from Bond Estate hails from vineyards in the foothills to the east of the valley floor, equidistant between St. Helena and Rutherford. The 2005 shows quite a bit of its Rutherford heritage in its more red fruity nose than many of the Bond bottlings, as it offers up a young and very classy nose of red and black cherries, a nice touch of Rutherford Dust, cigar wrapper, woodsmoke, soil and plenty of spicy new wood. On the palate the wine is big, full-bodied and impeccably balanced, with a great core of fruit, plenty of firm tannins, tangy acids and superb length and grip on the focused and slightly hot finish. Like all of the Bond Estates wines, this will be a very good bottle with five to seven years of bottle age, but I would love to see it drop down at least half a percentage point in terms of alcohol and really let the soil tones shine through. But all in all this is a very well-made, modern cabernet that sidesteps many of the land mines that plague so many producers of this genre. (Drink between 2016 - 2040)John Gilman | 93 JGNotes of mint, plum, currants, and berries. Full bodied, with fine tannins and a sweet tobacco and ripe fruit finish. Pop the cork on this one. 14+22+23+33. Find the wineJames Suckling | 92 JSWell-centered, showing ripe, spicy plum, black cherry and currant flavors, with firm, integrated tannins and good length, tightening up on the finish. Best from 2011 through 2017. 785 cases made. Wine Spectator | 90 WS
The 2006 Melbury has a dense plum/purple color and a big, sweet, scorched earth, crème de cassis and blueberry nose, with hints of charcoal, spice box, and graphite. Rich, well-made, and showing exceptionally well from bottle, it is a wine that will certainly evolve for 25 or more years.Robert Parker | 94 RPThe 2006 Melbury is dark, chewy and a bit rough around the edges. Even so, it has aged well and retains enough freshness to drink well for another decade or more. Mocha, plum, black cherry and spice infuse the super-expressive finish.Vinous Media | 94 VMThis is very perfumed with currants and flowers. I love the nose. Very balanced and deep full bodied wine with a long silky finish. I really like the texture and finesse to this. Very fascinating. Better in a year or two. 14+24+23+33. Find the wineJames Suckling | 94 JSStarts with a beautiful ruby color that’s so pretty and gleaming. Appeals right away for its rich, attractive sour cherry candy, vanilla and anise aromas and flavors that are well-integrated with smoky oak. The tannins are firm, but ultra-refined, and the finish is entirely dry. A well-made, elegant wine of place that needs time. 2012–2018.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WEI had a very hard time getting a firm read on any of the 2006 bottlings from Bond Estates and was under the distinct impression that I was not favorably impressed by the style of wines here, until I tasted the 2005s, which really had snapped nicely into focus, had gobbled up the lion’s share of their new wood and showed truly excellent quality in their more modern styles. So with the 2006 Melbury (and this is true for all of the other 2006s from Bond), please take into account that the wine was still more than a tad grumpy and adolescent when I tasted it and is very likely to come in at the high range of my range if it evolves as positively as its 2005 counterparts. The nose today on the ’06 Melbury is quite intriguing in its mix of black raspberries, plums, tobacco, chocolate, allspice and spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and shows a fair bit of complexity on the attack, but with rather aggressive, uncovered oak tannins currently dominating the slightly green (from wood?) finish. There is excellent length and grip here behind the wood tannins, and one assumes that there is plenty of stuffing to eventually carry the wood, but for now, the wood tannins make this wine pretty disagreeable to drink and cellaring is emphatically required. (Drink between 2016 - 2035)John Gilman | 89-92 JGFrom the Sloson Vineyard on the east side of Lake Hennessy, these vines are cooled by the lake and grow in dense clay. They produced a big, juicy red in 2006, a soft, luscious wine that feels dense and full. This comes across as warmer and riper than Bond’s other single-vineyard releases, a more immediate pleasure for drinking over the next several years.Wine & Spirits Magazine | 91 W&S
The 2007 Quella performed slightly better than I predicted last year. A magical combination of blueberry liqueur intermixed with crushed rock, spring flowers (violets?), earth, pen ink and burning ember leads to a full-bodied, majestically rich wine with a multilayered texture, silky tannins and a phenomenally long finish of over 50 seconds. This sensational 2007 should drink well for 25-30+ years.Robert Parker | 97 RPThis is decadent. Layers and layers of porcini mushrooms, wet forest floor, and dark fruits. Full bodied, powerful, with everything going for it. This needs at least fiave years to show its best. Pull the cork after 2015. 15+25+24+33. Find the wineJames Suckling | 97 JSVoluptuous and racy in the glass, with terrific freshness, the 2007 Quella has it all. Raspberry jam, blood orange and sweet floral notes add brightness throughout. Silky, ripe and alluring, the 2007 is one of the many standouts in this vintage. The 2007 drinks well now but it will hold for another 10-15 years.Vinous Media | 96 VMA tremendous effort, firm, intense, dense and concentrated, offering a wonderful mix of mineral, fresh earth, dried currant and herb, with touches of tobacco and cedar. Full-bodied, yet at points supple given its youth, but the finish sails on and on. To be released spring 2011. Best from 2013 through 2024. 476 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSThis is Bond’s second vintage of Quella, from a vineyard in the eastern hills of Napa Valley. The wine’s red cherry fruit has elasticity and intriguing meatiness, though for now it’s completely cloaked in oak. The wood adds a French roast coffee spice rather than sweetness, the tannins mouthcoating and rich. This finishes with elegance and should reward several years of cellar time.Wine Enthusiast | 92 WE
The 2008 Pluribus is a gorgeous wine laced with black fruit, menthol, minerals, spices and licorice. It shows fabulous density and richness through to the finish. This is a very typical Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPThe 2008 Pluribus is the most delicate of the Bond 2008s. Hints of pine, scorched earth, toast and licorice give the wine many of its aromatic signatures. Today, the 2008 is deceptively understated. My impression is that the best is yet to come.Vinous Media | 95 VMOffers a mix of mocha, loamy earth, espresso, dried currant, blueberry, wild berry and cedary sage-charcoal notes. Full-bodied and drying, complex and concentrated. Best from 2012 through 2022. 487 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WSEucalyptus and mint and spices with dark fruits. Hints of wood too. Full-bodied, with a solid core of fruit. Thick and dense. Very soft and juicy. Very approachable. This has a little more Merlot than normal, making it very approachable.James Suckling | 92 JSGrown at a steep, seven-acre vineyard at 1,100 feet on Spring Mountain, Pluribus shows the power and extract of the 2008 vintage. It’s all about structure until the wine takes on enough air, beginning to show floral notes and deep blueberry-scented fruit. There’s a dark, classical Napa mountain red here, needing a decade in the cellar to reveal itself more completely.Wine & Spirits | 91 W&S
Full ruby-red color. Very ripe aromas of raspberry, licorice and menthol; this too struck me as claret-like. Sweet and refined in the mouth, already showing superb harmony to its raspberry, redcurrant and graphite flavors. Finishes with suave tannins and outstanding length. Like the Melbury, this seems balanced to give early pleasure but should have no trouble lasting for 15 to 20 years in bottle. (Incidentally, pHs here were average in 2008 but acids a bit higher, said director of winegrowing Bob Levy, who offered the opinion that 2008 was a bit like 2005 in style).Vinous Media | 94 VMFirm and structured, with loamy earth, mocha and espresso, this is ripe and lively, with currant, blueberry and wild berry notes that are pleasingly subtle and detailed. Even more expansive and syrupy on the finish. Best from 2012 through 2022. 502 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WSThis is the third vintage from this site. Licorice and flowers and lavender aromas. Full body, with super velvety tannins and a medium finish. Lovely wood on the finish. Sandalwood undertone. Give it a year or two to come together more.James Suckling | 93 JSThe 2008 Quella is a dark, brooding wine loaded with super-ripe dark black fruit, smoke, tar and licorice. It is a seriously intense wine that will require bottle age. This is an especially authoritative wine from Bond. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2028.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RP
The 2009 Proprietary Blend Pluribus boasts stunning concentration, depth and power. Tar, incense, graphite, plums and grilled herbs all flow from this dark, sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. The balance of fruit, tannin and acidity is masterful. The Pluribus is always the most intense of the BOND wines. It can at times be a bit of a brute, but the 2009 is as refined as it gets. There is no shortage of class and integrity here. Hints of smoke, tar and juniper berries add the final layers of complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2039.I have been excited about the BOND 2009s since I first tasted them 18 months ago. My enthusiasm for those wines is surpassed only by the 2010s. The 2009s are sexy, radiant and impeccably polished, while the 2010s are more inward, structured and brooding in style. It is impossible not to compare BOND to Bill Harlan’s Harlan Estate. Although I am told the approach to farming and picking is identical in all the vineyards both estates look after, my sense is that the BOND wines are a little more vibrant than Harlan Estate, which tends to occupy a spot a little further out on the ripeness spectrum. It’s hard to know what more there is to say about BOND. These are simply some of the most utterly magnificent wines I have ever tasted, and a true testament that terroir not only exists in Napa Valley, but that these are some of the most privileged sites for making wine anywhere in the world. In my opinion, in top vintages, the St. Eden, which emerges from the red soils of Oakville, and the Vecina, from Vine Hill Ranch, are two of the greatest wines in Napa Valley.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPReaders searching for a Pluribus to drink now will find much to admire in the 2009. Beautifully resonant on the palate, the 2009 possesses striking depth and nuance. Time in the glass seems to bring out the wine’s natural richness and generous, inviting texture.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGAn amazing wine, complex and elegant, with a pure, rich, spicy mix of dark berry, plum and black cherry flavors. Supple and harmonious, elegant and persistent. Drink now through 2028. 420 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WS
The darker, more virile side of the vintage comes through in the 2009 Proprietary Blend Quella. A dark brooding wine, the 2009 saturates the palate with black cherries, plums, smoke and incense, all in a firm, brooding style that is highly appealing. Vivid and constantly changing in the glass, the Quella impresses for its multi-dimensional personality and potential. Hints of smoke, ash and scorched earth are layered into the powerful, structured finish. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2034.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThe darker, more virile side of the vintage comes through in the 2009 Proprietary Blend Quella. A dark brooding wine, the 2009 saturates the palate with black cherries, plums, smoke and incense, all in a firm, brooding style that is highly appealing. Vivid and constantly changing in the glass, the Quella impresses for its multi-dimensional personality and potential. Hints of smoke, ash and scorched earth are layered into the powerful, structured finish.Vinous Media | 96 VMThis is perhaps the tightest of the new Bonds, nonetheless the wine offers a dense, focused core of dried berry, black licorice, crushed rock and dried herb flavors. Most impressive on the finish, where the flavors fan out. Best from 2014 through 2026. 460 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Graphite, smoke, savory herbs, tobacco and licorice all meld together in a huge, powerful, structured wine. Layers of fruit cover every inch of the palate in a dark, brooding wine endowed with serious intensity. Today, the 2010 is absolutely striking in its beauty. Always a big, tannic wine, the 2010 Pluribus is one of the most elegant and refined Cabernet Sauvignons I have ever tasted from this site. The intensely savory, mineral notes typical of the wine are there, but the 2010 also has a level of purity in its fruit that is striking. This is a stunning wine from BOND.Antonio Galloni | 98 AGThe 2010 Pluribus reveals classic notes of blueberry and mulberry fruit intermixed with hints of violets, incense and licorice. The striking aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, dense, supple-textured, multidimensional wine that should drink well for 25-30 years.To quickly summarize this project that has been remarkably successful since the debut vintage, Bond is the project of the visionary Bill Harlan, the proprietor of Harlan Estate. Along with winemaker Bob Levy and consulting oenologist Michel Rolland, he continues to sign twenty-year leases on highly regarded vineyards planted with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from which he offers consumers world-class Cabernet Sauvignons that showcase different Napa micro-climates/terroirs. In short, there are five separate vineyard sites in the Bond portfolio. The Melbury comes from a 7-acre parcel (sedimentary and clay soils) on steep slopes in the Pritchard Hill area near Lake Hennessey, east of Rutherford. The northern most parcel, the Pluribus comes from a high elevation (1,000 feet) site on Spring Mountain. It, too, is a 7-acre parcel planted in the white volcanic bedrock called tufa. The most southerly situated vineyard is Vecina (11 acres planted at 200-330 foot elevation), which is a neighbor of Harlan Estate in the Oakville Corridor, on the western hillsides of Napa. St. Eden, a valley floor vineyard, is composed of 11 acres on gentle foothills just north of the Oakville Crossroads. The Quella Vineyard is a 9-acre site in the eastern foothills of St. Helena with an interesting terroir of alluvial pebbles and small rocks of what is believed to be an old riverbed. White tufa can be found as well. Part of the objective is to vinify these wines in identical manners so that as they age their micro-climate / terroir characters become more pronounced. The barrels that are deemed not worthy enough to go into the individual single vineyard wines are blended into the Matriarch cuvee.Robert Parker | 97 RPExtremely floral, with violets and dark berries such as blueberries. Full, bold palate with chewy tannins, warm stone and fresh herbs. Some bark and sandalwood. Chewy wine. Needs time to soften: better in 2018.James Suckling | 94 JSDense and extracted, offering a powerful mix of loamy earth, dried berry, herb, road tar and pencil lead, this is also quite tannic and cedary. Should reward cellaring. Best from 2015 through 2028. 568 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS
The 2012 Quella (from a steep 9-acre vineyard in the eastern Vaca hillsides) has an opaque purple color, a gorgeous nose of white flowers, sweet blackberry and cassis fruit, and a touch of vanilla and graphite. Full-bodied, like its siblings, with great fruit extract, terrific purity and richness, and high but velvety tannins, this wine should also benefit from another 3-5 years of cellaring and keep for 30+ years.Robert Parker | 98 RPLots of hot stone and slate on the nose with flowers. Dark berries too. Full body, dense mouthfeel. It lasts a long time with a salty, pomace undertone. Tight and muscular. Better in 2018.James Suckling | 97 JSSoft and caressing, the 2012 Quella is quite expressive today. Dark cherry, cedar, tobacco, smoke, licorice, incense and rose petal, along with soft silky contours, give the wine its distinct personality. Bright red stone fruit and lifted floral notes convey an impression of total sensuality. The 2012 is very pretty, but like so many wines in this vintage, it is a bit one-dimensional, especially when compared to some of the true standouts in this range.Vinous Media | 94 VM
From an 11-acre vineyard just north of the Oakville corridor, the 2012 St. Eden shows gorgeous, cedary Christmas fruitcake notes, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, spice box, earth, and almost first growth Pauillac-like cassis and lead pencil shavings. Deep, full-bodied, and fabulously concentrated, this stunner flirts with perfection. Slightly more evolved than the Quella or Melbury, this wine may be the most drinkable out of the gate of all the Bond offerings in 2012. It should continue to evolve for at least 30+ years.Robert Parker | 98 RPBeautiful fruit definition with blackberries, blueberries, chocolate and burnt orange character. Full body and round, fine powder texture plus dusty, velvety tannins. Long and gorgeous finish.James Suckling | 97 JSSensual and silky in the glass, the 2012 St. Eden comes across as a bit subdued and even light, with less concentration and fewer shades of dimension than most other vintages. Perhaps the 2012 is in a bit of a closed phase. We will see. At this stage, the 2012 is a bit compact and not as expressive as it has been in prior tastings.Vinous Media | 94 VMPure and graceful, with ripe, delicate red and dark berry flavors, light floral aromas and subtle oak nuances. An easy-drinking style, this is moderately tannic and should be ready to drink now or age short-term. To be released spring 2016. Drink now through 2026. 857 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS
The perfect 2013 Vecina offers up notes of pen ink, scorched earth, espresso, blackcurrant liqueur and blackberries. It is a fabulously great wine, with supple, well-integrated tannin, decent acidity, and a skyscraper-like mouthfeel, with extraordinary purity and richness. This is an amazing wine to drink over the next 50 years, although I would probably suggest cellaring for five or more at present.Robert Parker | 100 RPThis look back at Vecina continues with the 2013. Ample and creamy yet also tannic, the 2013 is outrageously beautiful today. Raspberry jam, tobacco, smoke, dried flowers and herbs build into a crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures. Although the 2013 won’t be ready to drink any time soon, it is simply thrilling on this afternoon. There is not much more I can say than that.Vinous Media | 100 VMAromas of plums and terracotta with flowers and fresh herbs such as lemon grass. Full body. This young red envelops your palate with polished and velvety tannins that turn to ripe fruit, light smoke, cedar and chocolate undertones. Dusty texture. Salty and savory. Superb intensity. Can’t wait to drink it on release and onwards.James Suckling | 98 JSRemarkably complex, focused and structured, with a rich, fruity entry supported by fine-grained tannins and seductively creamy, mocha-tinged oak. Taken as a whole this is an enticingly complex and ageworthy effort. Drink now through 2030. 460 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WSDark, rich black fruits, pencil shavings and chapparal (California’s garrigue) preface a ripe, ample and substantially-framed wine, the largest-scaled and most obviously ripe of the Bond wines, though savoury, crisp tannins keep things serious. From deep, fine gravel soils in west Oakville, it will be interesting to watch this cuvée’s evolution over the vintages to come. Drinking Window 2018 - 2038.Decanter | 93 DEC
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