Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Holy Grail

A trifecta of talent introduces the newest cult cabernet.



A Trio of Talent: Three impresarios produce a coveted Cabernet.

Photos courtesy of Gauge Branding

With hundreds of Cabernets competing for cult status, it might seem foolish to enter what is already an exceedingly saturated category of the Napa Valley wine industry.
But when three impresarios—Tim Martin, Philippe Melka, and Michael Uytengsu—launched Tusk Estates, their ultraboutique pursuit of Cabernet perfection, wine connoisseurs made room for another contender.

“As a team, we came to the party with a lot of pieces that you really need to have a shot of cutting through the noise of a very busy wine world,” says Martin, founder of Gauge Marketing and former general manager of Lail Vineyards.

Instead of going the typical route of acquiring an existing winery, Martin and Uytengsu wanted to build a luxury wine brand from scratch. Uytengsu, a snack food magnate who’s built brands like Granny Goose and Keebler, was eager for the project: “I’ve been a big wine enthusiast my entire adult life and was looking to find a hobby that I could really get passionate about.” The two agreed that Martin’s close friend and heralded winemaker Philippe Melka was the ideal partner.  

Taking a page from his French roots, Melka applied a quintessential Bordelaise style to Tusk, culling the finest cabernet grapes from seven vineyards in five appellations. Says Martin, “We’re producing juice from vine to barrel that is aged for 30 months in new French oak, typically 1,500 cases, that Melka whittles down to the crème de la crème for Tusk at a range of 125 to 150 cases.”

Only available to exclusive wine list members, the end result is a three-bottle set encased in an exquisite linen box. And while many wineries rely on a 100-point Robert Parker score to sell out their vintage, Tusk accomplished this on its own in the first two vintages. tuskestates.com.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Beyond Cab and Chardonnay

Tocai Friulano, anyone? Trousseau Gris? Tocai Friulano, anyone? Trousseau Gris? If Cabernet Sauvignon is king, Chardonnay queen, Pinot Noir prince, and Zinfandel the wild court jester, what’s to make of the escalating number of esoteric varietals....

Safari West

Blue Oak School Annual Fundraiser 2013

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

More than 200 of Sonoma’s top winemakers and growers, as well as some of the area’s best chefs, came together for Sonoma County’s signature fundraising event.

Alexander Valley Film Festival

Supporters of the Alexander Valley Film Society’s re-launched educational programming took to the red carpet in high glam style before enjoying a dramatic show on the big screen at The Clover Theater.

Final Twist: Robert Mondavi Winery

Robert Mondavi Winery's barrel aging room.

Final Twist

Joie De Vivre

Gina Gallo and Jean-Charles Boisset are starting a new dynasty on Wappo Hill.

V Foundation

The V Foundation for Cancer Research raised more than $4.7 million at its annual fundraiser.

Flavor! Napa Valley

Flavor! Napa Valley is a celebration of wine, food, and fun.

Wine, Women, & Shoes

Sole sisters, sole mates, and “Shoe Guys” sipped and shopped the day away at the signature wine-tasting fundraiser in St. Helena and Healdsburg

Sonoma International Film Festival