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

Wine Stars

What do guitar icon Carlos Santana, racing star Jeff Gordon, and three-time Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana have in common? These famous people—along with more and more celebrities—are entering into the wonderful world of wine.

Connolly Ranch Fundraiser

The Godfather of wine

While not the godfather of wine, per se, Hollywood entertainment mogul Francis Ford Coppola has worked diligently to further Wine Country’s global stardom. This year, Coppola celebrates 31 years in the wine industry—and a new winery in Sonoma

Weill Hall Opening 2013

Passport to Dry Creek Valley

Spelunking for Wine

Take a tour of Rombauer Vineyards’ wine cave for an unforgettable wine-tasting experience.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Around Sonoma County with Bruce Cohn

Vintner, entertainment guru, philanthropist, and very fun guy Bruce Cohn talks about what to see and do in Sonoma County.

Hamm-Egan Wedding Celebration

Jamie Hamm and Kerry Egan tied the knot at an intimate ceremony for 28 guests at his family’s estate in Stag’s Leap.

Joie De Vivre

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

More Uncorked With Women of the Vine

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.