Cult Winemaker Jonathan Maltus’ Napa Brilliance
Jonathan Maltus is a Robert Parker 100-point winemaker with a cult following. Napa collectors know him best for his extraordinary World’s End line, where he’s been making sleekly contoured, darkly concentrated single-vineyard reds since 2008. For the 2013 World’s End Reserve Merlot “Little Sister,” Maltus went to Andy Beckstoffer, Napa’s greatest grower, whose vineyards have birthed 14 wines that have reached the 100-point Parker pinnacle. Drawn off Beckstoffer’s Los Carneros Napa plots, this classic, succulent Merlot lit up the tasting room at Wine Access HQ and took 93 points from James Suckling.
In addition to his cult Napa label, Maltus Saint-Émilion’s Le Dôme which in 2010 earned 100 points from Robert Parker. Maltus rose to global fame in 1994, joining Le Pin’s Jacques Thienpont as one of the torchbearers of the Right Bank’s “Garagiste” movement. By drastically reducing yields, picking at ultra-ripeness, and doing everything possible in the cellar to soften the often-angular Bordeaux tannins, Maltus enchanted Robert Parker, who crowned him as one of the Right Bank’s brightest lights.
World’s End represents Maltus’s effort to replicate the “Garagiste” style on the rocky soils of Oakville. His first stop was to see Andy Beckstoffer, whose world-class vineyards (To-Kalon, Missouri Hopper) eke out a few tons per acre of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Napa Valley. To achieve maximum lushness for the 2013 “Little Sister” Reserve Merlot, Maltus bought fruit from Beckstoffer’s Los Carneros vineyard. This magic site takes full advantage of the cool morning fog that drifts in from the San Pablo Bay, allowing for extended hang time and lending this wine its sensational black-fruit concentration and silky texture.